Shelter preferences in the Mediterranean slipper lobster: effects of physical properties

E. Spanier, G. Almog-Shtayer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The physical properties of shelter and biotic factors associated with shelter selection were studied in the Mediterranean slipper lobster Scyllarides latus (Latreille) in both the field and laboratory. In laboratory experiments, lobster significantly preferred a shaded cover or an opaque shelter to a transparent shelter of the same dimensions. No preference was exhibited by lobsters between a shaded transparent shelter and an opaque shelter. Lobsters also demonstrated a significant preference for shelters with more than one opening and for those that were in a horizontal as opposed to vertical position. They also tended to shelter together with other conspecifics. S. latus preference for horizontal dens with a small entrance, close to the substratum and with multi-openings were observed in natural and artificial reefs. Tendencies for cohabitation, shelter sharing with moray cels, and bringing clams to the shelter after night foraging, were also etected among field lobsters. No correlations between the various sheltering behaviors and sex or size of lobsters were found. It is suggested that these characteristics are anti-predator adaptations of S. latus which lack any morphology for active defense.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-116
Number of pages14
JournalJournal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology
Issue number1
StatePublished - 23 Nov 1992

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We express gratitude to S. Breitstein, Y. Tur-Caspa and many other colleagues and students for their valuable assistance in the diving operations. We also wish to thank the Israel National Institute of Oceanography where the laboratory phase of this study was performed. R. Pollack is acknowledged for her help in preparing the illustrations and D.E. Barshaw. for her constructive criticism on the manuscript. This study was supported in part by the Center for Maritime Studies, University of Haifa and the Fi,~hing Technology Unit, Israel Ministry of Agriculture.


  • Antipredator behavior
  • Mediterranean slipper lobster
  • Scyllarides latus
  • Shelter

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science


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