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(Von Siebold, 1824)

Diagnosis:
Antennular plate with 2 large, widely separated spines. Exopod of third maxilliped present, with flagellum. Transverse groove of abdominal somites with straight margins, not crenulated. Transverse grooves of abdominal somites 3 and 4 do not join groove along anterior margin of corresponding pleuron.
Colour: body of uniform dark brownish red. No pale bands on abdominal somites. Antennulae not banded. Pereiopods with some narrow longitudinal yellowish lines. No conspicuous spots.

Type:
Type locality of Palinurus japonicus: "Japonia", Japan, probably near Nagasaki. Lectotype in RMNH, no. 60, selected by George and Holthuis, 1965: 10, in alcohol condition excellent; paralectotypes in BM, MP, RMNH, USNM.
Type locality of Puer pellucidus: "Japan, Kochi, 15-20 Faden" ( = Kochi, Shikoku Island, Japan, 27-37 m). Two syntypes in MZS, preserved in alcohol, condition poor.

Geographical Distribution:
Western Pacific: Japan (south of 38°30'N to Ryukyu Islands), Korea, East China Sea, China, Xiamen (= Amoy), Taiwan.

Habitat and Biology:
Inhabits shallow waters, between 1 and 15 m depth on rocky bottoms.

Size:
Maximum total body length 30 cm; common length up to 25 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
Panulirus japonicus is fished for commercially in Japan. Longhurst (1970: 286) reported the total annual catch of spiny lobsters in Japan to amount to 1600 tons; by far the larger part of this is made up by the present species. The lobsters in Japan are sold fresh and frozen The FAO Yearbook of Fishery Statistics reports for Japan no catches of P. japonicus, but only for P. longipes, viz. 1083 tons for 1987, 969 tons for 1988. However, as P. longipes is much less abundant than P. japonicus, it is likely that these figures actually correspond to P. japonicus, or to a combination of all Japanese spiny lobsters. In Taiwan, the species is found in markets throughout the year, but mostly so from March to October (Chang, 1965: 41).

Japanese spiny lobster (Panulirus japonicus)