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On-line version ISSN 2358-2936

Nauplius vol.25  Cruz das Almas  2017  Epub Sep 04, 2017 

Short Communication

Distribution of slipper lobsters (Decapoda: Scyllaridae) in Uruguayan waters

Fabrizio Scarabino1 

Allysson P. Pinheiro2  3  *

William Santana2  3

1Universidad de la República, Centro Universitario de la Región Este (CURE), Rocha, Uruguay.

2Laboratório de Crustáceos do Semiárido (LACRUSE), Universidade Regional do Cariri - URCA, Crato, Ceará, Brazil.

3Universidade do Sagrado Coração - USC, Pró-Reitoria de Pesquisa e Pós-Graduação, 17011-160 Bauru, São Paulo, Brazil.


Scyllarid lobsters are commonly found in tropical waters with scarce records from temperate zones in the southwestern Atlantic. Here, we provide new information about the distribution of Scyllarides deceptor Holthuis, 1963 along the Uruguayan continental shelf and include a new austral record for Scyllarus depressus (Smith, 1881).

Key words Scyllarides deceptor; Scyllarus depressus; continental shelf; temperate waters; south Atlantic

Slipper lobsters are mainly found in tropical waters and records from temperate zones of southwestern Atlantic are rare (Holthuis, 1991; Tavares, 2002; Santana et al., 2007). In the southernmost part of the northern Atlantic Patagonian coast there are only two published records of Scyllarides deceptor Holthuis, 1963 (Balech, 1962; Boschi, 1973). Scyllarides deceptor is known to occur from Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) to the Buenos Aires Province (Argentina) (Boschi, 1973; Tavares et al., 2009), mainly in soft bottoms between 30 to 300 m of depth (Holthuis, 1991); it is an abundant species in some localities in Brazil (Tavares et al., 2009). Another Scyllaridae, Scyllarus depressus (Smith, 1881), has its southernmost record in Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul, see D’Incao, 1999). Contrary to Scyllarides deceptor, Scyllarus depressus is a species not often captured and there are only few deposited specimens from South America waters (see Tavares, 1997 for details). In this sense, we describe the distribution of Scyllarides deceptor along the Uruguayan continental shelf and include a new austral record for Scyllarus depressus.

The material examined was collected during fishing operations conducted along the Uruguayan continental shelf (Fig. 1). All specimens of Scyllarides deceptor and Scyllarus depressus were obtained from sand and/or mud bottoms, preserved in ethanol 70-80%, and deposited in the Museo Nacional de Historia Natural de Montevideo, Uruguay (MNHNM). Additional material examined belonged to the collections of the National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution (USNM).

Figure 1 Distribution of Scyllaridae species sampled in Uruguayan waters.  

Material examined.

Scyllarides deceptor Holthuis, 1963 (Fig. 2A, B) - São Paulo, Santos, Farol da Moela, F/V ‘Emilia’ 21.ix.1959, 1 male paratype (USNM 105810). Uruguay, F/V ‘Cacique’, 34°43’S 53°25’W, bycatch of Zidona dufresnei (Donovan, 1823), ix.2000, D. Carrizo col., 46 m, 1 female (MNHNM 1950). F/V ‘Sigma’, stn. 8; 34°46’S 52°33’W, in gastropod traps, 24.v.2004, S. Horta col., 70 m, 1 female (MNHNM 1951). 34°52.71’S 53°08.42’W to 34°51.46’S 53°08.90’W, 06.xii.2006, red engel trawl, 45-41 m, 2 females (MNHNM 1952). 35°12.2’S 52°56.7’W to 35°10.9’S 52°54.7’W, 24.iv.2006, red engel trawl, 67-70 m, 1 male (MNHNM 1953).

Figure 2 A, C, Habitus, dorsal view. B, D lateral view. A, B, Scyllarides deceptor Holthuis, 1963, female (MNHNM 1952). C, D, Scyllarus depressus (Smith, 1881), female (MNHNM 1964). Scale bars: 1 cm. 

Scyllarus depressus (Fig. 2C, D) - Uruguay, R/V Aldebaran, cruise 2008-02, stn L. 18, 35º51.73’S 54º03.56’W to 35º53.11’S 54º03.78’W, 09.iv.2008, A. Segura, L. Rubio & E. Delfino col., red engel trawl, 61-62 m, 1 female (MNHNM 1964).

In decapods, the information about species distribution is not always supported by documented data and material deposited in scientific collections, which, in some cases, might lead to misinterpretation of the species distribution area. Scyllarides deceptor has a widespread distribution, occurring from Rio de Janeiro, Brazil to Buenos Aires Province in Argentina. Melo (1999) recorded only “Argentina” for S. deceptor with a map showing its distribution throughout Tierra del Fuego as the southern limit, which is probably a mistake. A well-documented record for the Argentinian coast was provided by Boschi (1973: 16) who listed one male from the Buenos Aires Province (38°45’S 57°50’W) and confirmed a previous doubtful record by Balech (1962) as Scyllarides brasiliensis Rathbun, 1906. In Uruguayan waters, the only record for Scyllarides deceptor was mentioned by Riestra et al. (2006) as bycatch of Zidona dufresnei (Mollusca, Gastropoda) as the specimen MNHNM 1950 studied here (Fig. 2).

Some morphological variations were observed in the pleura of the second abdominal somite in Scyllarides deceptor. The Uruguayan material presents a posterior margin of the pleura of the second abdominal somite distinctly concave (Fig. 2B), while, at least in some specimens, the Brazilian material (from Rio de Janeiro to Rio Grande do Sul) have a more convex margin (Fig. 3).

Figure 3 Lateral view of the pleura of the second abdominal somite of Scyllarides deceptor Holthuis, 1963. A, female (MNHNM 1952). B, male paratype (USNM 105810). White arrows indicate the differences on the margins. Scale bars: 1 cm. 

Scyllarus depressus was described based on a postlarva (Smith, 1881: 429) causing difficulties in the identification of the adults. As a result, the adults of Scyllarus depressus were mistakenly identified as Scyllarus arctus (Linnaeus, 1758) by some authors (e.g. Doflein, 1900; Moreira, 1903; 1905; Andrade Ramos, 1951). Until now the distribution of Scyllarus depressus ranged from Massachusetts, US to São Paulo State, Brazil (Tavares, 1997). However, references with precise data about this species are very scarce (Doflein, 1900; Moreira, 1903; 1905; De Man, 1916; Luederwaldt, 1929; Vasconsellos, 1938; Andrade Ramos, 1951; Holthuis, 1960; Robertson, 1971; Tavares, 1997; Puciarelli and Rego, 2016). The following publications mention S. depressus for South America, but without any reference of deposited material: Perez and Pezzuto (1998), D’Incao (1999), Melo (1999), Barros and Pimentel (2001), and Serejo et al. (2007).

The new austral record presented here (Fig. 1) not only corroborates the presence of this species in temperate waters of South America, but also confirms that the records southern to São Paulo State in Brazil are plausible, with Uruguay being currently the southernmost record of S. depressus


The authors are thankful to the Centro Universitario Regional del Este (CURE), Museo Nacional de Historia Natural y Antropología (MNHNA), Dirección Nacional de Recursos Acuáticos (DINARA) and to Rafael Lemaitre from National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, D.C. (USNM) for granting access to the collections and for providing working space. We thank Herivelto Faustino de Oliveira for the help with the map preparations. This work was supported by the Fundação Cearense de Apoio ao Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico ˗ FUNCAP (grant BP1-0067-00022.01.00/12 to APP) , and the Fundação de Amparo à Pesquisa do Estado de São Paulo ˗ FAPESP (grant 2013/01201-0 to WS). This work greatly benefited from the comments of two anonymous reviewers and the Associate Editor Dr. Ingo Wehrtmann


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Received: April 10, 2017; Accepted: June 03, 2017

Corresponding author: Allysson P. Pinheiro.

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