Antennular plate with 4 spines, without additional scattered small spinules in between. Third maxilliped without exopod. Abdominal somites smooth and naked, without transverse groove.
Colour: abdomen brownish or greenish grey with at most minute indistinct speckles, without transverse whitish bands. The usual large eyespot in the anterior half near the base of the pleura is accompanied by an oblique pale streak placed somewhat mediad of the eyespot. The pleura have the tips white, sometimes this white colour extends slightly up the anterior and posterior margins. Carapace with a peculiar and very characteristicx marbling of pale lines near the bases of the frontal horns. Frontal horns with irregular transverse bands above, whitish below. Legs not streaked, but with very sharply defined irregular dark spots of a bluish or brownish colour, which often form incomplete rings around the various segments. Antennal flagella distinctly ringed.
Type locality of P. ornatus: "in Oceano Indico. Dom.Daldorff". I.K. Daldorff, a Danish officer, was stationed from 1790 to 1793 in Tranquebar, S.E. India (11°02'N, 79°51'E) in which area he collected; he did not return to India until 1798. His material is from Tranquebar or the nearby region, which may be considered the restricted type locality. Lectotype in UZM, originally preserved dry, recently transferred to alcohol, condition reasonable.
Type locality of P. sulcatus: "Habite les côtes de I'Inde". presumed type specimen in MP, no. Pa 448; a dry specimen in reasonable condition labelled "Palinurus sulcatus Lmk. Indes.
Indo-West Pacific region from the Red Sea and East Africa (south to Natal) to southern Japan, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea, S.W., W., N., N.E. and E. Australia, New Caledonia and Fiji. Recently (1988) a specimen was found on the coast of Israel in the E. Mediterranean.
Habitat and Biology:
In shallow, sometimes slightly turbid coastal waters, from 1 to 8 m depth, with a few records from depths as great as 50 m. On sandy and muddy substrates, sometimes on rocky bottom, often near the mouths of rivers, but also on coral reefs. The species has been reported as solitary or as living in pairs, but has also been found in larger concentrations.
This is one of the largest of the Panulirus species and can attain a total body length of about 50 cm, but usually is much smaller (30 to 35 cm).
Interest to Fisheries:
Panulirus ornatus is fished for throughout its range, but in most places only on a small scale. Taken mostly by hand by divers, or speared. Handnets are used also, but traps prove to be ineffective. Sold mostly fresh or frozen in local markets. In the Philippines a minor export activity has developed. In Australia a commercial fishery was developed since about 1966, it uses freezing installations ashore, as well as freezer boats; these operations cover the Torres Strait area, as well as N.E. Queensland, with an annual catch of over 120 tons tail weight around 1986 (Channells et al., 1987). Mounted dry specimens (sometimes in glasscases) are sold to tourists in several areas (e.g., in Thailand).