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Characteristics, distribution and ecology
Taxonomische classification
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(Bruce, 1966)

Diagnosis:
Carapace rather uniformly spinulose. Region between postrostral carinae smooth. Carapace with distinct postorbital spine. Longitudinal furrows absent from abdominal tergites.

Type:
Type locality: "N.E. of Port Hedland northern Western Australia, approximately 8.5 miles east of Mermaid Reef, 17°05'S 119°48'E; depth 434 metres". Holotype male in WAM (no. 11-64).

Geographical Distribution:
Indo-West Pacific region. So far the species has only been found off the northwest coast of Western Australia near Port Hedland, at 17°05'5119°48'E and 18°26'S 117°34'E.

Habitat and Biology:
Depth range from 418 to 500 m, on a bottom of Globigerina ooze.

Size:
Total body length to 18 cm; carapace length 4 to 7 cm, average 5 cm.

Interest to Fisheries:
Potential. At the type locality, 39 specimens were obtained by trawl in a single haul. Proper equipment and better knowledge of its occurrence, habitat and habits may show the species to be of economic interest. George (1983:16) counted this species among the 5 of which off Port Hedland the "commercial prospects... are probably the most encouraging". Wallner and Phillips (1980:36) indicated that off N.W. Australia, 38% of the Metanephrops catch was formed by this species. In 1984, Davis and Ward (1984:42) gave the catch percentages by weight of the trawling off northwest Australia as follows: 50% shrimps, 32.5% M. australiensis, 12.l% M. velutinus, and 5.4% M. boschmai.

Northwest lobster (Metanephrops australiensis)