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Shelter preference in captive juveniles of European spiny lobster Palinurus elephas (Fabricius, 1787)
Gristina, M.; Fiorentino, F.; Garofalo, G.; Badalamenti, F. (2009). Shelter preference in captive juveniles of European spiny lobster Palinurus elephas (Fabricius, 1787). Mar. Biol. (Berl.) 156(10): 2097-2105.
In: Marine Biology. Springer: Heidelberg; Berlin. ISSN 0025-3162, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Gristina, M.
  • Fiorentino, F.
  • Garofalo, G.
  • Badalamenti, F.

    Physical shelter features (e.g. shape, size and substrate slope) were tested in the laboratory to evaluate the preferences of juveniles of European spiny lobster, Palinurus elephas. Tethering experiments to assess whether substrate slope affects the vulnerability of juveniles to predation were also performed. Our results showed that: (1) semi-circular dens were significantly preferred over square and circular shapes; (2) when not disturbed by a predator, lobsters sheltered in holes with a diameter closely related to their own size, while in the presence of a potential predator lobsters showed no significant preference for a particular shelter size; (3) lobsters significantly preferred dens excavated on sub-vertical (35°) substrates over those excavated on vertical ones (90°); (4) individual lobsters tethered on vertical substrates were subject to greater predation activity than those tethered on horizontal structures. In conclusion, the present study contributes to the understanding of how physical properties of shelters affect the choice of P. elephas juveniles, enhancing their protection and survival rate.

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