Crustaceans->Squat Lobsters

SW Taiwan, 982–999 m (PCP445) <i>Uroptychus nigricapillis</i>
associated with gorgonian corals.

Uroptychus nigricapillis associated with gorgonian corals.
Image ~ © National Taiwan Ocean University



Squat Lobsters

Squat lobsters are dominant, numerous and highly visible crustaceans on seamounts, continental margins, many shelf environments, coral reefs and at hydrothermal vents. More than 870 species are known. They frequently feature in deep-sea images taken by submersibles and are caught in large numbers by benthic dredges. Some species are so locally abundant that they form 'red tides'. One species, the so-called 'yeti-lobster' became an international press celebratory when it was reported as a new species in a new family in 2005.

Squat lobsters are members of the crustacean order Decapoda, along with crabs and shrimps, but are more related to hermit crabs. Squat lobsters belong to two superfamilies, the Chirostyloidea and Galatheoidea. The two superfamilies are not sister taxa. Chirostyloidea includes 4 families (Chirostylidae, Eumunididae, Kiwaidae, and Sternostylidae). Galatheoidea includes 3 squat lobster families (Galatheidae, Munididae, Munidopsidae) and the porcelain crabs (Porcellanidae).

The taxonomy of the squat lobsters has been intensively studied over the past few decades, making them one of the best known deepwater crustacean 'groups'. As a result, they have attracted the attention of deep-sea ecologists using them as proxies to test various hypotheses about deepwater ecological processes and biogeography. Interest in squat lobsters now extends much more widely than the taxonomic community.

This website was supported through funding from the Australian Government’s Australian Biological Resources Study National Taxonomy Research Grant Program, and the Census of Marine Life project COMARGE (Continental Margin Ecosystems).

The Delta databases available for download from this site are in TEST phase and will be regularly updated. For further information regarding these databases please contact Dr. Anna McCallum

Dr Anna W. McCallum, Museums Victoria

Dr Shane T. Ahyong, Australian Museum

Dr Joanne Taylor, Museums Victoria

Dr Gary C. B. Poore, Curator Emeritus, Museums Victoria

  Delta key to identify families and genera of squat lobsters

Squat Lobster Delta Keys

Zootaxa website

Squat Lobster Catologue

  Dr Anna McCallum

Dr Anna McCallum

Dr Shane Ahyong

Dr Shane Ahyong

Curator Emeritus, Dr Gary Poore

Dr Gary Poore

Manager, Natural Sciences Collections, Dr Joanne Taylor

Dr Joanne Taylor

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Marine Sciences, Melbourne Museum, Carlton, Victoria, Australia


© MUSEUMVICTORIA 2010 ~ updated 10 May 2010