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(Leach, 1815)

Description:
Rostrum extends to anterior margin of eye or little less; triangular, with small anteriorly directed lateral tooth on each side.
Carapace with three anteriorly directed spines on median line; plus three spines on first lateral carina and two spines on second carina.
Stylocerite acutely pointed, about half length of antennular peduncle. Apical spine of scaphocerite stout, slightly longer than lamellar portion.
Third maxilliped about 1.5 x length of scaphocerite; exopod present.
Mandible with molar process only, teeth acutely pointed.
Pereiopod 1 sub-chelate, small exopod present. Pereiopod 2 extends to half the length of merus of pereiopod 1. Dactyl of pereiopod 2 about half the length of the propus. Endopods of pleopods 2-5 with appendix interna in both sexes.
Telson with two pairs of small lateral spines, apex pointed. Anterior lateral borders of carapace, third maxillipeds and Pereiopod 1 covered with dense, feathery setae in large specimens.

Size:
Length up to 52 mm.

Colour:
Mottled reddish-brown, often with pale green markings on carapace and telson.

Habitat:
Down to 10-200 m, occasionally down to 1.550 metres. Often occurs on offshore gravels and coarse shelly sand. Hyperbenthic species, may swim up at night, mostly confined to the nepheloid layer.
Ovigerous females occur from October to April-May, although the breeding period may be longer in more southern waters.

Distribution in the North Sea:
All North Sea.

World distribution:
Ranges from Norway (62°35'N) southwards to the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean and Adriatic.

Pontophilus spinosus