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

Jasus edwardsii

Vernacular name:

Red rock lobster


Use the links below to jump to previous and next taxa in a text browser:
Scyllarides elisabethae - Cape slipper lobster
Scyllarides elisabethae - Cigale du Cap
Scyllarides elisabethae - Cigarra del Cabo
Jasus frontalis - Juan Fernandez rock lobster
Jasus frontalis - Langouste Juan Fernandez
Jasus frontalis - Langosta de Juan Fernandez

(Hutton, 1875)

Diagnosis:
Large spines of carapace narrow, often three to four times as long as wide, not very different from the small spines. Anterior half of first abdominal somite before transverse groove entirely smooth, without sculpturation. Squamiform sculpturation on posterior half of second to fifth abdominal somites (i.e. part behind transverse groove) less dense, with larger squamae, which are arranged in two or three transverse rows.

Type:
Type locality: "Otago Heads" near Dunedin, South Island, New Zealand. Syntypes supposedly in DMW, now lost, at least not located in 1988.

Geographical Distribution:
All coasts of New Zealand, from Three Kings Islands (north west of the northern tip of North Island) south to the Auckland Islands, also found at the Chatham Islands; most common off the south west part of South Island, and the east coast south of East Cape.

Habitat and Biology:
The species lives in crevices of the rocky shores and among algae at depths between 5 and 200 m. Soft shelled specimen are occasionally caught in December and January

Size:
Maximum total body length is 58 cm (males), and 43 cm (females); maximum carapace lengths 23.5 cm (males), 18 cm (females); minimum legal carapace lengths 10 cm (males), and 9 cm (females).

Interest to Fisheries:
The species is usually caught with baited lobster pots, sometimes obtained by trawling and by diving. Protective laws have been introduced, like size limits, prohibition of some gear, prohibition of taking ovigerous females or soft specimens, bag limits for sports fishermen, etc. The specimens are sold as frozen tails (mostly to the USA) and whole live specimens (mainly to Japan). According to FAO statistics, 5000 tons were caught in 1987 and 1242 tons in 1988. According to Kensler (1969: 516) this species sustains "New Zealand's main and most valuable export fishery". It represents 99% of the total lobster fishing in the area (the other 1% is formed by J. verreauxi). In 1988 the species represented the fourth most valuable fishery of New Zealand, after the fishes Orange Roughy (Hoplostethus atlanticus), Hoki (Macruronus novaezelandiae), and squid (Booth, in litt.). Since 1965, the species is also commercially fished at the Chatham Islands. The Chatham fishery expanded rapidly since 1966 and in 1967 provided about 50% of the total New Zealand catch.

Jasus edwardsii (Red rock lobster)
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Red rock lobster
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