Antennular plate with four strong spines, in a quadrangle, without additional small spinules. Third maxilliped without exopod. Abdominal somites smooth, without transverse groove.
Colour: carapace whitish with well defined, sharply delimited areas of bluish black, which contrast very conspicuously with the light background. Antennal peduncles pink, the flagella white. Abdominal somites with conspicuous transverse white bands, flanked at either side with a dark band along the posterior margin. Legs with longitudinal white and dark blue stripes.
Type locality of Palinurus versicolor: "Cette jolie espèce nous est arrivée par la frégate le Naturaliste".. The "Naturaliste" together with the "Géographe" left Le Havre, France, on 18 October 1800 on a voyage of discovery to Australia. F. Peron and C.A. Lesueur, whose names as zoologists are well known in connection with this expedition, shipped on the Géographe, the zoologists on board the " Naturaliste" were G.J.B.M. Bory de St Vincent and D. Dumont. Bory de St Vincent, however, did not travel beyond Mauritius, where he stayed for a year. The two ships arrived at Mauritius (Ile de France) on 16 March 1801 and left 25 April. The "Naturaliste" reached S.W. Australia on 27 May 1801 and went from there to Timor where she stayed from 22 August to 13 November 1801. From Timor the "Naturaliste' went around S.W. Australia to Tasmania and Port Jackson, Sydney, and returned from there the same way to Shark Bay, Western Australia, which was left 23 March 1803 for Timor. On 3 June 1803 the ship headed home from Timor via Mauritius. The only two localities where the "Naturaliste" could have collected Panulirus versicolor are Mauritius and Timor. It seems best to select Mauritius as the restricted type locality. Types in MP, see under type of P. taeniatus.
Type locality of P. taeniatus: "Habile les mers de la Nouvelle Hollande" Lamarck (1818: 211) cited P. versicolor Latreille as a synonym of his P. taeniatus (although he himself used the name versicolor for a species that probably is P. penicillatus). As Lamarck claims that the type specimens of his P. taeniatus are rather small, just as Latreille (1804) did for his own P. versicolor, it is possible, that taeniatus is just a new name for versicolor Latreille, and that thetype material of the two is the same. The fact that the object of the voyage of the "Naturaliste" was to explore Australia "Nouvelle Hollande"), may be the reason that Lamarck gave Australia as type locality for P. taeniatus, while its types probably were actually collected in Mauritius or Timor. In the Paris Museum, there are 3 specimens identified by Lamarck as P. taeniatus labelled "Ile de France" ( = Mauritius), which may be the syntypes of this species and of P. versicolor.
Type locality of P. ornatus decoratus: "Java", Indonesia. Type material in NMW.
Type locality of Puer spiniger: "Amboina", Moluccas, Indonesia Depository of syntypes unknown.
Type localities of Panulirus demani: "Blanche Bay, New Britian" (1 male syntype in ZMC, in alcohol, good condition), "Amboina (Moluccas, Indonesia), "Neu-Guinea" (= southeast coastof Papua New Guinea between Yule Island and East Cape), "Thursday Island" (Torres Strait, Australia) (material from the last three localities reported upon by Ortmann, 1894, the syntypes probably in the Zoological Institute, University of Jena, Germany), "Java-See" (Java Sea, Indonesia) (De Man, 1896; 2 juveniles syntypes in ZML).
Type locality of Senex ornatus laevis: "Singora" ( = Songkhla, S. Thailand on coast of Gulf of Thailand). Holotype male in ZMC, in alcohol, condition good.
Indo-West Pacific region: entire Red Sea and east coast of Africa (south to Natal), to southern Japan, Micronesia, Melanesia, northern Australia and Polynesia.
Habitat and Biology:
In shallow water, from the sublittoral down to 15 m depth; in coral reef areas, often on seaward edges of the reef plateau. In clear water also in surf areas. The species is nocturnal and not gregarious; in daytime, it hides in crevices and cavities of the rocks.
Maximum total length about 40 cm, average length less than 30 cm.
Interest to Fisheries:
The species is taken wherever it occurs, mostly for local use; like all spiny lobsters it is considered to be excellent food. It is taken in daytime by divers, either by hand or with spears; at night it is hunted and speared at the reefs with the help of torch lights, it rarely enters traps. On the west coast of Thailand, it is sold fresh in markets or directly to restaurants; mounted specimens, usually in fancy glass cases are sold as curios to tourists.