The Caribbean spiny lobster (Panulirus argus) is the most widespread, commercially important, and extensively studied spiny lobster in the western hemisphere, yet until now it has never been successfully reared through all its planktonic (phyllosomal) stages from egg to early benthic juvenile. Here we describe the development of phyllosomal P. argus in culture including the growth, duration, and morphology for 10 distinct stages. Phyllosomata were cultured from egg to juvenile in two ways: 1) in individual cultures using small glass bowls (120 and 400 mL) to determine individual growth, and 2) in group culture using a 40 L elliptical tank to obtain samples for morphological descriptions. Six of the 20 phyllosomata cultured individually (at 25-27°C ) metamorphosed after 18-21 molts (mean = 20) to the puerulus stage at 140-198 days (mean = 174 days). Body lengths of the final stage phyllosomata and pueruli ranged from 25.6 to 28.2 mm (mean = 27.0 mm) and 16.4 to 17.5 mm (mean = 17.0 mm), respectively. Of the 550 mass cultured (at 25°C) phyllosomata, 146 were sampled for morphological examination and subsequently divided into 10 stages, each described and illustrated herein. This is the first of the five Panulirus species known from the Atlantic Ocean to be cultured completely from hatch to settlement. This success is crucial for future research on larval behavior and dispersal and may renew interest in aquaculture of this economically consequential species.
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