Effects of artificial shelters (Casitas) on the abundance and biomass of juvenile spiny lobsters Panulirus argus in a habitat-limited tropical reef lagoon

  • Published source details Briones-Fourzán P. & Lozano-Álvarez E. (2001) Effects of artificial shelters (Casitas) on the abundance and biomass of juvenile spiny lobsters Panulirus argus in a habitat-limited tropical reef lagoon. Marine Ecology Progress Series, 221, 221-232.


This study is summarised as evidence for the following.

Action Category

Provide artificial shelters

Action Link
Subtidal Benthic Invertebrate Conservation
  1. Provide artificial shelters

    A replicated, controlled, before-and-after study in 1997–1999 of nine plots in a reef lagoon with seagrass meadows in the Caribbean Sea, Mexico (Briones-Fourzàn & Lozano-Álvarez 2001 – same experimental setup as Lozano-Álvarez et al. 2009) found that during one year after deploying artificial shelters (‘casitas’), abundance of Caribbean spiny lobsters Panulirus argus increased in plots with artificial shelters but not in plots without, regardless of whether the plots had lobsters or not before deployment. Lobster abundance increased over time in plots with shelters (before deployment: 0–30; after: 7–104 lobsters/ha) while it did not increase in plots without (before: 0–24; after: 0–32 lobsters/ha). After a year, plots with artificial shelters had bigger lobsters (average 25 mm) than sites without (22 mm). Ten ‘casitas’ (1.1 m2, 3.8 cm diameter entrance) were deployed in each of five plots (1 ha) (≤5 m depth) in July 1998. On 13 occasions before (February 1997–July 1998) and every two months for a year after deployment, divers counted and visually estimated the carapace length of all lobsters across each ‘casitas’ plots and at four plots without casitas. Before deployment, three ‘casitas’ plots and two plots without ‘casitas’ had zero lobsters. No fishing is reported to occur in the study area because all lobsters present are typically undersize juveniles.

    (Summarised by: Anaëlle Lemasson & Laura Pettit)

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