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Revista chilena de historia natural

Print version ISSN 0716-078X


PALMA, ÁLVARO T et al. Near-shore distribution of phyllosomas of the two only lobster species (Decapoda: Achelata) present in Robinson Crusoe Island and endemic to the Juan Fernández archipelago. Rev. chil. hist. nat. [online]. 2011, vol.84, n.3, pp.379-390. ISSN 0716-078X.

Two lobster species coexist in the southeast Pacific Juan Fernández archipelago, Jasus frontalis (Milne-Edwards, 1837) and Acantharctus delfini (Bouvier, 1909). Like most lobster species they undergo a prolonged larval period, which is particularly long for J. frontalis (> 16 months). Though typical of Palinurids, this long larval duration is usually not thought to be conducive to local recruitment. While it is known that settlement is confined to the three islands of the archipelago (Robinson Crusoe, Alejandro Selkirk and Santa Clara) and Desventuradas Islands (aprox. 800 km to the north), it remains poorly understood how local larval supply allows such distribution pattern. The goal of this study is twofold. Firstly, we aimed to characterize the distribution and abundance of the larvae of these two species around Robinson Crusoe Island using plankton tows and systematic hydrographic records between October 2008 to March of 2011, thus providing the first systematic and prolonged coupled biophysical observations in the nearshore of the archipelago. We hypothesize that spatial and temporal larval distribution patterns are associated to their retention around the archipelago, thus contributing to our knowledge of the physical and biological processes maintaining their extreme isolation. Secondly, using molecular genetics, we confirm a simple taxonomic criteria to distinguish the larvae of the two species, thus aiding future studies of larval dynamics. Throughout phyllosomas of A. delfini were more abundant than that of J. frontalis. Both species were more abundant on the northern shores of Robinson Crusoe Island and generally associated with warmer and saltier waters and mostly present in the samples collected during spring and summer months. Phyllosomas of both species were more abundant during nighttime tows in the upper layer of the water column surveyed suggesting a diurnal vertical migration behavior which, for coastal dwelling meroplanktonic species, can be related to a nearshore larval retention mechanism. These preliminary results represent a pioneering effort to understand the mechanisms driving the endemism and extreme isolation of the two study species.

Keywords : endemism; lobsters; oceanic island; phyllosoma.

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