Winter stranding of Mediterranean slipper lobsters, Scyllarides latus

Ehud Spanier, Eyal Miller, Dov Zviely

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Stranding of the Mediterranean slipper lobster, Scyllarides latus, is reported for the first time for this species and in the Scyllaridae family. A total of 8 and 12 adult lobsters were found in two occasions on a sandy beach of northern Israel close to a winter seasonal shallow rocky complex habitat of this species in January 2016. The distance between the stranded lobsters was a few to about 20 m. All stranded specimens were adults with no biofouling on their exoskeleton. The absence of biofouling indicates that they were just after the presumed molting period in deeper water. Both strandings were recorded immediately following extreme storms. The maximum wave height of the storms was 9 m and the wave period 11.8 s. The estimated breaker zone started at 7.2 m deep, located more than 400 m offshore on a relatively flat, bare soft bottom substrate. It is postulated that lobsters, encountering such harsh storms on a relatively exposed terrain offshore, on their way back from their proposed deep water fall migration to the shallower winter seasonal rocky habitats, were unable to avoid the powerful drag forces. Under such circumstances their antipredator adaptations of powerful clinging to rough bottom, using their strong legs to grasp the substrate and resist being dislodged or sheltering in rocky caves and crevices, would not be effective against intense waves and currents and they were swept to shore. Damage detected on the carcasses of the stranded lobsters support this hypothesis. It is not clear whether previous similar strandings remained unnoticed or these events resulted from unique and rare coincidences of the lobsters’ location during their shoreward migration, the shelf bathymetry and the timing and positions of extreme storms.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)126-131
Number of pages6
JournalRegional Studies in Marine Science
StatePublished - Jul 2017

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2017 Elsevier B.V.


  • Coast of Israel
  • Extreme waves
  • Lobster behavior
  • Lobster winter seasonal migration
  • Rosh HaNiKra-Akhziv
  • Shelf bathymetry

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology
  • Animal Science and Zoology


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