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The Japanese spiny lobster, Panulirus japonicus (von Siebold, 1824), spends an extended period as planktonic phyllosoma larvae in offshore epipelagic regions. The larvae have been morphologically confused with those of related species, called here the "longipes" group to include P. longipes (A. Milne Edwards, 1868), P. femoristriga von Martens, 1872, and P. brunneiflagellum Sekiguchi and George, 2005, in the seas off southern Japan. Partial sequences of mitochondrial DNA (tDNA-Val to middle part of 16S rDNA) show species-specific variations characterized by large interspecific differences and only very minor intraspecific ones. Based on these observations, for identification purposes we developed a PCR-RFLP test using five restriction endonucleases (BspH I, EcoR V, Hae III, Hap II, and Mbo I). We could thereby identify six species and one subspecies of Panulirus lobsters from 93 field-collected phyllosoma larvae sampled during four surveys in the seas off southern Japan in 1997 and 1998 [P. japonicus, P. longipes bispinosus Borradaile, 1899, P. brunneiflagellum, P. penicillatus (Olivier, 1791), P. versi-color (Latreille, 1804), and Justitia longimanus (H. Milne Edwards, 1837)]. We also discuss the taxonomy and phylogeny of the genus Panulirus; the recently described species, P. brunneiflagellum, is placed as a sister species of P. femoristriga in spite of the former's morphological affinities with P. japonicus.
Species diversity : an international journal for taxonomy, systematics, speciation, biogeography, and life history research of animals 11(4), 307-325, 2006-11-30 [Table of Contents]
Japanese Society of Systematic Zoology