Panulirus cygnusWestern rock lobster
Forked antennules between the larger antennae; this allies the species with the tropical rock lobsters, rather than with the southern rock lobsters, which have antennules ending in fine filaments and a knob. The western rock lobster is the most valuable fishery species in Australia, with a total annual catch valued at more than $300 million. Juvenile rock lobsters drift for 9-11 months many hundreds of kilometres offshore among Indian Ocean plankton. They then move shoreward and settle in great abundance on shallow coastal reefs (0-20 m depth), where they forage at night among seaweeds and on adjacent seagrass habitats. Western rock lobsters migrate offshore into deeper water (30-150 m depth) at about five years of age and remain there for up to 20 years, spawning once or twice each year.
Max Size: 20 cm
Sea Temperature Range: 18.5-23.3°C
Habitat Generalization Index: N/A
Also referred to as the SGI (Species Generalisation Index), this describes the habitat niche breadth of the species. Species with values less than 15 are found in a relatively narrow range of reef habitat types (specialists), while those over 25 may be found on most hard substrates within their range (generalists). Learn more here.
Conservation and Rarity
IUCN Status: Least Concern
Occurrence: Common (49.2% of sites)
Occurrence describes how often the species is found on surveys within its distribution. It is calculated as the % of reef sites surveyed by RLS divers across all the ecoregions in which the species has been observed
Abundance: Few (3 per transect)
Abundance is calculated as the average number of individuals recorded per RLS transect, where present.
Edit by: GJ Edgar. 2008. Australian Marine Life. New Holland, Sydney