The family Palinuridae (langouste or spiny lobster) is characterized by strong spines on the carapace and/or on the abdominal segments. Pincers, when present on the front legs, are small. European species belong to the genera Pan-ulirus and Jasus (9,10). They are distributed throughout tropical and subtropical oceans (see Reference 1 for a map). For a discussion of geographic and vertical distribution of Palinurid lobsters, see Reference 11. Phyllosoma larvae hatch from eggs carried by females. These larvae are extremely flat, with long divided legs and delicate mouth-parts. After about 12 molts while drifting in the ocean, the juveniles become puerile larvae; they swim actively and approach the coast. These larvae subsequently molt into the juvenile form of the adult at about 12 months of age (12). For biological details on one species (P. argus) see Reference 5. Palinuridae account for 17% of the world catch. The annual catch is about 80,000 t, mostly in Australia (12,000 t), Cuba (11,000 t), and Brazil (9000 t) (13).

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