Sharks of the World
Author: L.B. Holthuis
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Scientific name:

Jasus verreauxi

Vernacular name:

Green rock lobster, Langouste d'Océanie, Langosta de Oceanía


Use the links below to jump to previous and next taxa in a text browser:
Jasus tristani - Tristan rock lobster
Jasus tristani - Langouste de Tristan
Jasus tristani - Langosta de Tristan
Justitia japonica - Japanese furrow lobster

(H. Milne Edwards, 1851)

Diagnosis:
Antennular plate hardly, if at all, visible in dorsal view. Stridulating organ absent. Two large median teeth before cervical groove. Carapace behind cervical groove without a median ridge, but with two submedian ridges, each bearing a row of large, sharply pointed teeth or spinules. Posterior half of carapace closely set with numerous sharp spinules. Abdominal pleura ending in a sharp anterior tooth and a broad, distinctly denticulate posterior lobe. Upper surface of the abdominal somites without scalloped sculpturation.

Type:
Type locality of Palinurus verreauxi: not mentioned in the original description but Gruvel (1911: 15) made clear that H. Milne Edwards' type material came from New South Wales, Australia and is in MP, evidently no longer extant (not located in 1989).
The type locality of Palinurus huegelii: "wurde von Baron Hügel im indischen Ocean gesammelt" (Heller, 1862: 393). This information is obviously erroneous as the species does not occur in the Indian Ocean. Karl Alexander Anselm Freiherr von Hügel, baron of the German Empire (born in Regensburg ( = Ratisbon), Bavaria, 25 April 1795, died in Brussels, Belgium, 2 June 1870) spent most of his youth in Austria and was in the service of the Austrian government until his retirement in 1867. Being much interested in horticulture and natural history, he travelled between 1830 and 1836to England, France and India. He left India in September 1833 and then visited the Philippines, Malaysia, the Netherlands East Indies, the South Pacific but also "the Swan river, King George's Sound, and Sydney in Australia; Van Diemen's Land [= Tasmania], New Zealand, Norfolk Island" (A. von Hügel, 1903: 73). His visits to New Zealand and Australia took place between September 1833 and 6 October 1834, at the last mentioned date he left Sydney for the Philippines, from where he returned home via China, Malaysia and India. The type of Palinurus huegelii can originate either from the Sydney area or from New Zealand, as those are the two only localities visited by Von Hügel, where the species occurs. The type material, probably a holotype, is in NMW.
Type locality of Palinurus tumidus (and P. giganteus): "Whaingaroa, a small harbour on the West Coast of the North Island", New Zealand (Kirk, 1880: 313), collected in 1877 by J. Buchanan. Holotype male, dry in DMW, no. 5700.

Geographical Distribution:
New Zealand (all around North Island, but most common on the north coast; rare in South Island waters, with a few records from the west, north and north east coast and one from the south point), Kermadec Islands (rare, Chilton (1911: 549) reported on 2 specimens from Sunday ( = Raoul) and Denham Islands, but no records have been published from the Archipelago since), Chatham Islands (Michael and Booth, 1985: 18). Australia (from southern Queensland to Victoria; a few records from Tasmania).

Habitat and Biology:
The species usually occurs in depths between 0 and 155 m, but very few data on depth are published. Booth (1986: 2212) indicated that specimens with a tail length of less than 21.6 cm occur at depths between 20 and 130 m, and that the main fishery takes place between 50 and 150 m. The substrate is said to be usually sand, gravel, or rocks. Smaller specimens seem to be more frequent on a rocky bottom. Females are ovigerous from late September to January.

Size:
The maximum total body length is 60 cm (carapace length about 25 cm). Ovigerous females with a total body length of 38 to 56 cm have been reported (carapace lengths 16 to 24 cm). This species, probably together with Homarus americanus, is the largest known decapod as far as body length is concerned (see Kaestner, 1970: 274).

Interest to Fisheries:
The species is fished in the northern part of its range both in New Zealand and Australia. Eighty percent of the New Zealand catches are taken on the north coast of North Island between Cape Maria van Diemen and North Cape; the rest of the catches come mainly from the north coast between North Cape and Cape Runaway (Kensler 1967: 419). Booth (1986: 2213) reported that "the species is caught most commonly along the north and east coasts of North Island north of Cape Turnagain [= 40°29'5]". In Australia, the fishery for this species also is concentrated in the northern part of its range, namely north and south of Sydney (Port Stephens, 32°42'S, to Bateman's Bay, 35 45'5). Ogilby (1893: 201) remarked that "so abundant is this Crayfish, and with proper legislative precautions, so apparently inexhaustible the supply, that at but little expense a great and profitable canning industry might with ease be established". Gruvel (1911: 16) described the fishery for this species near Sydney, carried out with motor boats with a crew of 2 to 4 men, putting out lobster pots and trammel nets among the rocks in coastal waters. Dakin, Bennett and Pope (1969: 183) mention that in New South Wales the species is mostly taken with lobster pots, but that it also "constantly falls a prey to the wiles of the spear-gun fisherman", while "we have seen an expert catch over a dozen with his hands in an hour or two while wading amongst the weed along the edge of a rock platform at low water". The same authors also mention that the animals are preferably shipped alive to the markets, since by freezing and cooking much of the taste is lost. Kensler and Skrzynski (1970: 46-54) observed that in New Zealand lobster pots are used most, but that lobsters are also obtained by trawling and with Danish seines. As to protective measures, in New Zealand the size limit is 21.6 cm tail length, or carapace length 16.3 cm (males) and 15.5. cm (females), while also the catch of ovigerous females is prohibited.
As far as the commercial importance of Jasus verreauxi in New Zealand is concerned, this is dwarfed when compared to that of J. edwardsii; its annual catch being less than 1% of that of J. edwardsii (see Kensler and Skrzynski, 1970: 46). Between 1962 and 1966 these annual catches of J. verreauxi in New Zealand varied between 23 and 66 tons, with an average of 36 tons. The FAO Yearbook of Fishery Statistics gives the following landings (in metric tons) for New Zealand: 10 tons in 1987 and 6 tons in 1988. The annual landings (in tons) for the species in Australia are much higher; in Fishing Area 81 ( = New South Wales) they totalled 200 in 1987 and in 1988, and in the area 57 ( = Victoria, Tasmania, South Australia and Western Australia) 5000 tons in both these years. Since J. verreauxi is absent or scarce in fishing area 57 and as J. novaehollandiae is not represented in the FAO statistics, it seems most likely that these Australian figures correspond to J. verreauxi and J. novaehollandiae combined, and thus give a wrong impression.

Remarks:
The name Palinurus giganteus was only qualifiedly given by Kirk, 1880: 313 ("although perhaps, giganteus, would be quite as appropriate"). It falls as an objective synonym of Palinurus tumidus Kirk.

Jasus verreauxi (Green rock lobster)
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