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Characteristics, distribution and ecology
Taxonomische classification
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(Sars, 1861)

Rostrum extending to anterior margin of eye; narrow, triangular, with small anteriorly directed tooth on each lateral border.
Carapace with three anteriorly directed spines on median line, plus two spines on first lateral carina and one spine on second lateral carina.
Stylocerite acutely pointed, about half length of antennular peduncle. Apical spine of scaphocerite slightly shorter than lamellar portion. Third maxilliped 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 length of merus of pereiopod 1. Dactyl of pereiopod 2 about half length of propus. Endopods of pleopods 2-5 with appendix interna in both sexes.
Telson with two pairs of small lateral spines.

Length up to 75 mm.

Normally a mottled reddish-brown.

Hyperbenthic species, may swim up at night, mostly confined to the nepheloid layer; adults may get caught with pelagic sampling. The breeding period appears to be in autumn and winter, since ovigerous females have been taken in December and February.

Depth range
Down to 50-1450 m, but usually 200-500 m.

Distribution in the North Sea
North Sea, except British east coasts; larvae reported from CPR area C2 (Lindley, 1987) i.e. western central North Sea CPR/NorthSea .

World distribution
Ranges from Greenland, Iceland, Spitzbergen and Norway southwards to the Bay of Biscay. Recorded, but scarce, in the W Mediterranean. On the west Atlantic coast, it is known from 38°4'N northwards to Greenland.

[Mainly after Smaldon, 1993]

Pontophilus norvegicus