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The Evolution of Spiny Lobsters (Palinuridae): A Study of Evolution in the Marine Environment

R. W. George and A. R. Main
Evolution
Vol. 21, No. 4 (Dec., 1967), pp. 803-820
DOI: 10.2307/2406775
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2406775
Page Count: 18
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The Evolution of Spiny Lobsters (Palinuridae): A Study of Evolution in the Marine Environment
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Abstract

1) Spiny lobsters occur in all major oceans of the world from sublittoral to bathyal depths. A phylogeny of the Palinuridae is proposed based on external morphology. The family is divisible into two groups-Silentes and Stridentes and within each group a parallel trend in several morphological features is apparent. 2) Coincident with these morphological trends is a habitat trend from deep (bathyal) to shallow (littoral) waters; adaptive advantages under these conditions are considered. 3) The shallow waters are the specialized habitats of spiny lobsters and the fossils indicate past radiations into shallow water but not the surviving stock; it is suggested that the "successful" ancestral line is represented by the deeper water inhabitants. 4) An analysis of depth and latitude distributions of the palinurid genera shows that the spatial distributions of the genera rarely overlap; in other words, each genus appears to have a separate set of depth and latitude parameters. In the southwest Indian Ocean one species of every palinurid genus is represented presumably because the total region provides all the separate habitats for these genera. 5) There are two basic distribution patterns in the Palinuridae, a circumpolar high latitude pattern, as exemplified by Jasus (and also Projasus and Palinurus in relict form) and a circumequatorial low latitude pattern; we have made a further subdivision into the shallow water species (Panulirus spp.) and deep water inhabitants (the remaining genera). The species of one of these deep water genera-Puerulus-appear to be associated with oceanic basins. 6) The warmest shallowest regions contain the most number of species because of the greater diversity of habitat but these species are the most vulnerable in a changing total environment. 7) Speciation within the most recently evolved palinurid genus-Panulirus-has occurred during the Pleistocene and the four species groups probably reflect four major glaciation periods. Interglacials allowed equatorial inter-ocean dispersal of the pelagic larvae, while during glacials stocks were isolated by physical barriers and more defined current systems. 8) It is suggested that the bathyal region for many marine organisms is the original region and that radiations have proceeded both up into shallow water and down into the deeper abyssal regions.

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