Achelata spiny and slipper lobsters

The spiny lobsters (Palinuridae) and slipper lobsters (Scyllaridae) are unusual decapods in lacking cheli-peds. They are common on the reef flat and slope where they hide in crevices by day and emerge at night to feed. Palinurids include the large, edible species like the painted cray (Panulirus versicolor), ornate cray (P. ornatus) and spotted cray (P. bispinosus (Fig. 23.3B), often misidentified as P. femoristraga), for which a commercial fishery operates in northern reef waters between Cape York and Princess Charlotte Bay. Unlike their temperate water counterparts, species of Panulirus seldom enter traps, and are instead harvested by hand. Scyllarids are smaller than palinurids, and the antennae, rather than being long and whip-like, are formed into short flat plates. Whereas tropical palinurids are usually brightly coloured, scyllarids are often camouflaged to match their coralline surroundings. Scyllar-ids, such as Scyllarides and Parribacus, are common on the reef slope, among coral and rubble, whereas Thenus (Fig. 23.3C) and Ibacus, often called 'bugs', live on the muddy inter-reef sediments where they are commercially trawled. An unusual feature of Thenus and Ibacus,

Figure 23.3 A, banded coral shrimp (Stenopus hispidus); B, spotted spiny crayfish (Panulirus bispinosus); C, Moreton Bay bug (Thenus australiensis); D, dwarf reef lobster (Enoplometopus occidentalis); E, mud shrimp (Strahlaxius glytocercus); F, ghost shrimp (Trypaea australiensis); G, hermit crab (Dardanus megistos); H, squat lobster (Allogalathea elegans); I, porcelain crab (Polyonyx sp.); J, ghost crab (Ocypode cordimana); K, poisonous xanthid crab (Lophozozymus erinnyes); L, rubble crab (Actaeomorpha scruposa). (Photos: A, D, © S. Ahyong; B, G, J, K, © GBRMPA; C, © G. Ahyong; E, F, © C. Tudge; H, I, L, R. Springthorpe, © Australian Museum.)

Figure 23.3 A, banded coral shrimp (Stenopus hispidus); B, spotted spiny crayfish (Panulirus bispinosus); C, Moreton Bay bug (Thenus australiensis); D, dwarf reef lobster (Enoplometopus occidentalis); E, mud shrimp (Strahlaxius glytocercus); F, ghost shrimp (Trypaea australiensis); G, hermit crab (Dardanus megistos); H, squat lobster (Allogalathea elegans); I, porcelain crab (Polyonyx sp.); J, ghost crab (Ocypode cordimana); K, poisonous xanthid crab (Lophozozymus erinnyes); L, rubble crab (Actaeomorpha scruposa). (Photos: A, D, © S. Ahyong; B, G, J, K, © GBRMPA; C, © G. Ahyong; E, F, © C. Tudge; H, I, L, R. Springthorpe, © Australian Museum.)

and probably and adaptation to living on level soft sediments, is their very flat carapace that extends sideways, covering their legs.

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