Scyllarus pygmaeus

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Scyllarus pygmaeus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Subphylum: Crustacea
Class: Malacostraca
Order: Decapoda
Family: Scyllaridae
Genus: Scyllarus
Species: S. pygmaeus
Binomial name
Scyllarus pygmaeus
(Bate, 1888)
  • Nisto laevis Sarato, 1885
  • Arctus pygmaeus Bate, 1888
  • Arctus immaturus Bate, 1888
  • Scyllarus immaturus Bouvier, 1912

Scyllarus pygmaeus is a species of slipper lobster that lives in shallow water in the Mediterranean Sea and eastern Atlantic Ocean. It grows to a length of 55 mm (2.2 in), which is too small for it to be fished for. The juvenile form was first described in 1885, with the description of the adult following in 1888 as a result of the Challenger expedition.


S. pygmaeus is the smallest slipper lobster species, with a carapace length of 11.5 millimetres (0.45 in) for females, and 10 mm (0.39 in) for males.[2] The total body length can reach 55 mm (2.2 in), but is typically less than 40 mm (1.6 in).[2] Its small size precludes S. pygmaeus from being a target for fisheries.[2] The body of S. pygmaeus is "pale brownish or pinkish with patches of darker hairs".[2]

S. pygmaeus resembles a young individual of Scyllarus arctus, with which it occurs in sympatry. The two species can be distinguished by a suite of characters:[3]

  • The anterior part of the abdominal tergites have a groove lined with hairs in S. pygmaeus but not in S. arctus.
  • S. arctus has a forward-pointing, pointed tip to the second abdominal sternites, while in S. pygmaeus it is rounded and points backwards.
  • S. pygmaeus has a conical tubercle on the fifth thoracic somite, while the tubercle is compressed rather than conical in S. arctus.
  • The sculptured posterior part of the first abdominal somite is wider in the centre than at the edges in S. pygmaeus, while in S. arctus it is an even width throughout.

Distribution and ecology[edit]

Scyllarus pygmaeus has a wide distribution in the Mediterranean Sea and islands in the eastern Atlantic Ocean, including Madeira, the Canary Islands and the Cape Verde Islands.[2] It has not been observed off the coast of North Africa further east than Morocco.[2] It lives at depths of 5–100 metres (16–328 ft),[2] where it is nocturnal and at its shallower ranges lives in Posidonia meadows.[4] Females carry eggs in June and August.[2]

Taxonomic history[edit]

Scyllarus pygmaeus was first described in 1888 by Charles Spence Bate as part of the results of the Challenger expedition.[5] He based his description of "Arctus pygmaeus" on material from "off Gomera" in the Canary Islands.[2][6] In the same publication, he also described "Arctus immaturus" from the Cape Verde archipelago, which Eugène Louis Bouvier realised in 1915 was simply the "nisto" (juvenile) stage of S. pygmaeus.[6] Applying the principle of first reviser, Bouvier established that S. pygmaeus would be the valid name, over S. immaturus.[6] Although S. pygmaeus is not rare in the Mediterranean Sea, its presence there was overlooked for decades, due to the confusion between it and the more conspicuous S. arctus, whose immature form S. pygmaeus was often assumed to be.[3] In 1960, Jacques Forest and Lipke Holthuis demonstrated for the first time that S. pygmaeus does indeed occur in the Mediterranean Sea, from museum specimens at the Stazione Zoologica in Naples.[3]

The juvenile "nisto" form of S. pygmaeus was named earlier than the adult form; Sarado described it in 1885 under the name Nisto laevis in his 1885 work Étude sur les crustacés de Nice ("Study of the crustaceans of Nice").[7]

The English vernacular name preferred by the Food and Agriculture Organization is pygmy locust lobster, alongside the French cigale naine and the Spanish cigarra enana.[2]


  1. ^ R. Wahle; A. MacDiarmid; A. Cockcroft; T. Y. Chan & M. Butler (2011). "Scyllarus pygmaeus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved December 31, 2011. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Lipke B. Holthuis (1991). "Scyllarus pygmaeus". Marine Lobsters of the World. FAO Species Catalogue, Volume 13. FAO Fisheries Synopsis No. 125. Food and Agriculture Organization. pp. 224–225. ISBN 92-5-103027-8. 
  3. ^ a b c C. Lewinsohn (1974). "The occurrence of Scyllarus pygmaeus (Bate) in the Eastern Mediterranean (Decapoda, Scyllaridae)". Crustaceana. 27 (1): 43–46. JSTOR 20102112. doi:10.1163/156854074X00217. 
  4. ^ "Scyllarus pygmaeus (Bate, 1888)". DORIS: Données d'Observations pour la Reconnaissance et l'Identification de la faune et de la flore Subaquatiques (in French). Fédération Française d'Études et de Sports Sour-Marins. Retrieved September 28, 2010. 
  5. ^ C. Spence Bate (1888). "Tribe Synaxidea". Report on the Crustacea Macrura collected by H.M.S. Challenger during the Years 1873-1876. Report of the Scientific Results of the Voyage of H.M.S. Challenger during the Years 1873–76. pp. 56–99. 
  6. ^ a b c J. Forest & L. B. Holthuis (1960). "The occurrence of Scyllarus pygmaeus (Bate) in the Mediterranean". Crustaceana. 1 (2): 156–163. JSTOR 20102321. doi:10.1163/156854060x00177. 
  7. ^ Ferran Palero; Guillermo Guerao; Paul F. Clark & Pere Abelló (2009). "The true identities of the slipper lobsters Nisto laevis and Nisto asper (Crustacea: Decapoda: Scyllaridae) verified by DNA analysis". Invertebrate Systematics. 23 (1): 77–85. doi:10.1071/IS08033.