Into a rhythm: Diel activity patterns and behaviour in Mediterranean slipper lobsters, Scyllarides latus

Jason S. Goldstein, Elizabeth A. Dubofsky, Ehud Spanier

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Although the natural history for Mediterranean slipper lobsters (Scyllarides latus) is well established, there exists a disproportionate lack of important biological and physiological data to verify many key traits, including to what extent endogenous rhythms modulate aspects of their behaviour. Although Scyllarids appear nocturnally active, few studies exist that quantify this tendency. Our overall objective was to test the hypothesis that adult slipper lobsters are nocturnal and to determine if their diel activity rhythms are under the influence of an endogenous circadian clock. In the laboratory, we exposed a total of 16 animals (CLavg = 92.6 ± 6.6 mm; CL, carapace length) to a 12: 12 light: dark (LD) cycle for 7-10 d, followed by ∗∗∗constant dark (DD) for 15-20 d. Activity was assessed using a combination of time-lapse video and accelerometers. Of a total of 16 lobsters, we analysed data from 15 (one mortality). All 15 lobsters were evaluated using video. Thirteen of these lobsters were also evaluated using accelerometers. All lobsters were more active during night-time than during daytime and synchronized their activity to the LD cycle, expressing a diel activity pattern (τ = 24.04 ± 0.13 h). In DD, lobsters maintained a circadian rhythm with a τ of 23.87 ± 0.07 h. These findings may provide insight into the behaviour of these animals in their natural habitat and help explain their ability to anticipate dawn and dusk.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)i147-i154
JournalICES Journal of Marine Science
StatePublished - 1 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015 International Council for the Exploration of the Sea 2015. All rights reserved. For Permissions, please email: [email protected].


  • biological clock
  • circadian
  • endogenous rhythms
  • light-dark cycles
  • scyllaridae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Oceanography
  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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