Scyllarides squammosus 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Arthropoda Malacostraca Decapoda Scyllaridae

Scientific Name: Scyllarides squammosus (H. Milne Edwards, 1837)
Common Name(s):
English Blunt Slipper Lobster
French Cigale Grenue
Spanish Cigarra Nato
Scyllarus sieboldi De Haan, 1841
Scyllarus squammosus H. Milne Edwards, 1837

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Least Concern ver 3.1
Year Published: 2011
Date Assessed: 2009-12-03
Assessor(s): Butler, M., Cockcroft, A. & MacDiarmid, A.
Reviewer(s): Collen, B., Livingstone, S. & Richman, N.
Contributor(s): Batchelor, A., De Silva, R., Dyer, E., Kasthala, G., Lutz, M.L., McGuinness, S., Milligan, H.T., Soulsby, A.-M. & Whitton, F.
Scyllarides squammosus is listed as Least Concern. This species has a broad distribution and is harvested in only small parts of its range. Ongoing fisheries in Australia have stringent management controls in place.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species is distributed throughout the Indo-West Pacific region from East Africa to Japan, Hawaii, Melanesia, New Caledonia and Australia (Queensland, New South Wales, West Australia) (Holthuis 1991, DEWHA 2009). It is likely that this species has a wider distribution than is currently known.
The type locality of this species is Mauritius (Holthuis 1991).
Countries occurrence:
Australia (New South Wales, Queensland, Western Australia); Fiji; Indonesia; Japan; Kenya; Madagascar; Marshall Islands; Mauritius (Mauritius (main island)); Mozambique; New Caledonia; Oman; Papua New Guinea (Bismarck Archipelago, North Solomons, Papua New Guinea (main island group)); Seychelles; Solomon Islands; Somalia; Taiwan, Province of China; Tanzania, United Republic of; Tuvalu; United Arab Emirates; United States (Hawaiian Is.); Vanuatu; Wallis and Futuna
FAO Marine Fishing Areas:
Indian Ocean – western; Indian Ocean – eastern; Pacific – northwest; Pacific – southwest; Pacific – western central
Additional data:
Lower depth limit (metres):120
Upper depth limit (metres):5
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:There is insufficient population data available for this species. However, Chan (1998) described it as 'apparently nowhere abundant in the Western Central Pacific'. Comparatively, DiNardo and Moffitt (2007) state that it is currently the dominant lobster species in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands. The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands populations of this species should be treated as one metapopulation (DiNardo and Moffitt 2007).
Current Population Trend:Unknown
Additional data:
Population severely fragmented:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:This nocturnal species inhabits reefs and rocky areas (Holthuis 1991). It shelters during the day, and forages at night where it feeds mainly on bivalves (Chan 1998, Lavalli et al. 2007). It has a maximum total length of 40 cm, although usually only reaches 20 cm (Holthuis 1991, Chan 1998). There are conflicting reports of the depth preferences of this species: Dinardo and Moffit (2007) suggest between 30 -120 m, whereas Holthuis (1991) and Chan (1998) suggest a shallower range of 5-80 m. This is also reflected in the 'most common' ranges, with 50 -70 m and 20-50m, respectively.

This gregarious species attains sexual maturity at a carapace length of 6.6 - 6.7 cm, although variation was found between reefs (Hearn et al. 2007, Lavalli et al. 2007). Ovigerous females occur throughout the year with peak abundance between May and July, and their fecundity ranges from 54,000 - 227,000 eggs per female (DiNardo and Moffitt 2007, Sekiguchi et al. 2007). The phyllosoma of this species remain pelagic for 3 - 6 months prior to transforming into benthic juveniles (DiNardo and Moffitt 2007).


Use and Trade [top]

Use and Trade: Its large size and well developed fleshy tail make this species, like other species of the genus, a sought-after delicacy (Holthuis 1991). Below is a breakdown of use and trade within distinct parts of this species' range.
In Hawaii there has been a commercial lobster fishery in operation in the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) for 20 years. The fishery has been primarily targeting this species and the Spiny Lobster (Panulirus marginatus).  Landings of all species were showing reductions, and in 2000 the NWHI fishery was closed as a precautionary measure due to increasing uncertainty of the population models used to assess stock status. Later on that year, the Northwestern Hawaiian Islands Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve was established. This may prohibit commercial lobster fishing in the NWHI indefinitely (DiNardo and Moffitt 2007). For catch data from the NWHI fishery whilst it was in operation see DiNardo and Moffitt (2007).
In 1997, the Queensland Fisheries Service (QFS), authorised a developmental trap fishery in southeast Queensland. The fishery was specifically targeting this species and S. haanii, after it was believed that an undeveloped Slipper Lobster (Scyllarides spp.) resource existed in the waters to the south of the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP). Prior to that time these species were landed only as a minor by-catch of prawn and scallop trawl fisheries (these species have now been removed from the "Permitted Trawl Species" able to be retained by trawl fishers) (Sumpton et al. 2004).
Development of this trap fishery began in July 1999, and was monitored for an initial period ending June 2003. Participants in the fishery required a permit that was renewed annually (subject to satisfactory performance by the permit holders). However, by 2004 there were no active harvesting permits and further development of the fishery was awaiting discussions between fisheries managers and stakeholders (Sumpton et al. 2004).
As part of the developmental fishery it was originally proposed that other lobster species would also be able to be taken; but to date only Scyllarides spp. and a limited number of Panulirus spp. have been caught. To some extent this was a result of the fishery's limitations to trawl relatively shallow depths < 200 m, which is not the preferred habitat of many of the species capable of entering baited traps (Sumpton et al. 2004)
New Caledonia

In New Caledonia local fisherman use a nightfishing technique to harvest three species:one subspecies of Palinurids (Panulirus penicillatus, P. longipes bispinosus and P. ornatus), and two Scyllarid species (this species and Parribacus caledonicus,Coutures and Chauvet 2003). This is achieved by diving with a water torch over the reefs (Coutures and Chauvet 2003). The catch-per-unit-effort (CPUE) data for these fishermen was found to be 1.32 kg/fisherman/night, although this increased to 2.16 kg kg/fisherman/night for more efficient fishermen (Coutures and Chauvet 2003).

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

The Queensland Fisheries Service (QFS) considers that the fishery does not pose a significant threat to the sustainability of this species. The fishery landed less than 5 tonnes of Slipper Lobster each year between 1998 and 2001, and in 2002/2003  no Slipper Lobsters were landed (Sumpton et al. 2004).

The Northwestern Hawaiian Islands (NWHI) Coral Reef Ecosystem Reserve was established in 2000 which may prohibit commercial lobster fishing in the NWHI indefinitely, therefore this fishery does not pose a continuing threat to this species (DiNardo and Moffitt 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

A decline in global captures of Scyllaridae has been documented, although information on specific species is lacking (Spanier and Lavalli 2007).


The management plan of the Hawaiian fishery incorporated closed seasons, minimum size limits, no retention of egg bearing females, the incorporation of escape vents in pots, accurate recording of log data, and revised yearly quotas (Pooley and Kawamoto 1998, Sumpton et al. 2004).


In the event that the trap fishery in southeast Queensland progresses beyond developmental status, a formal process would be undertaken to develop appropriate management strategies. Within the area of the fishery, a number of closed waters have been declared under the Fisheries Regulations 1995, and no fishing is allowed in the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park (GBRMP). All commercial fishers in Queensland have a legal obligation to provide information about their fishing activity via daily logbook reporting (Sumpton et al. 2004).

Other regulations implemented would include:

  • The size of the apparatus in waters shallower than 100 m: 1 ­m­3 in overall volume, and in waters 100 m and deeper 195 cm x 120 cm x 120 cm
  • Floats to be at least 15 cm in diameter
  • Floats for traps set in strings - orange in colour
  • Floats for single traps - any colour except orange
  • Floats must have markings showing the owner's boat name and boat marking
  • Not more than 200 traps per operator
  • Each operator may have 210 traps in possession but those in excess of 200 must be unassembled
  • In waters less than 20 m - traps set singly
  • In waters 20 - 100 m  set in strings of up to 25
  • In waters over 100 m  set in strings of up to 50
  • It is prohibited to take berried females or setose females (Sumpton et al. 2004).

As the Queensland trap fishery is only operated on a very limited developmental scale (a time frame of only four years), the lobster stocks are not likely to have been seriously affected. The current permit conditions provide the Queensland Fisheries Service (QFS) with extensive powers to ensure the sustainable management of the fishery. It allows them to suspend or cancel permits if a deleterious effect on stocks of Slipper and Spiny Lobster, or any other fish species (including bycatch and byproduct) has been caused, or is imminent, or may reasonably be expected due to activities under the permit' (Sumpton et al. 2004). For a comprehensive report on the Queensland developmental trap fishery, see Sumpton et al. (2004).

Citation: Butler, M., Cockcroft, A. & MacDiarmid, A. 2011. Scyllarides squammosus. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2011: e.T170008A6704714. . Downloaded on 23 June 2018.
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