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(Leach, 1815)

Description
Rostrum extends to anterior margin of eye or little less; triangular, with small anteriorly directed lateral tooth on each side.
Carapace with three anteriorly directed spines on median line; plus three spines on first lateral carina and two spines on second carina.
Stylocerite acutely pointed, about half length of antennular peduncle. Apical spine of scaphocerite stout, slightly longer than lamellar portion.
Third maxilliped about 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 the length of merus of pereiopod 1. Dactyl of pereiopod 2 about half the length of the propus. Endopods of pleopods 2-5 with appendix interna in both sexes.
Telson with two pairs of small lateral spines, apex pointed. Anterior lateral borders of carapace, third maxillipeds and Pereiopod 1 covered with dense, feathery setae in large specimens.

Size
Length up to 52 mm.

Colour
Mottled reddish-brown, often with pale green markings on carapace and telson.

Ecology
Often occurs on offshore gravels and coarse shelly sand. Hyperbenthic species, may swim up at night, mostly confined to the nepheloid layer; adults may get caught with pelagic sampling.
Ovigerous females occur from October to April-May, although the breeding period may be longer in more southern waters.

Depth range
Down to 10-200 m, occasionally down to 1.550 m.

Distribution in the North Sea
All North Sea.

World distribution
Ranges from Norway (62°35'N) southwards to the Bay of Biscay, Mediterranean and Adriatic.

[Mainly after Smaldon, 1993]

Pontophilus spinosus