Thursday, May 24, 2007

"The Indo-Pacific scyllarine lobsters (Crustacea, Decapoda, Scyllaridae) by Holthuis, L. B. (2002)

The Indo-Pacific scyllarine lobsters (Crustacea, Decapoda, Scyllaridae). Holthuis, L. B., 2002. Zoosystema, 24(3): 499-683. Publications Scientifiques du Museum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris. ISSN 1280-9551.

The flathead lobsters of the family Scyllaridae are very diverse, and of the four recognised subfamilies, the Scyllarinae has the most species. Until this revision, this subfamily had only one very speciose genus, Scyllarus Fabricius, 1775, its members occurring in all the major oceans. Within the Indo-Pacific, identifying Scyllarus species has always been a major problem, with 41 available names. The present revision solves this headache. The present author is the acknowledged world expert on lobsters, and has worked on them for decades. Already, he has reorganised the subfamilies within the Scyllaridae and has revised the Ibacinae (see Holthuis, L. B., 1985: A revision of the family Scyllaridae (Crustacea: Decapoda: Macrura). I. Subfamily Ibacinae. Zoologische Verhandelingen, Leiden, No. 218: 1-130), but the one group for which a revision was most needed was without doubt the Indo-Pacific Scyllarinae. In fact, the roots of the present revision were planted over 40 years ago, and it has taken that long for it to be finally finished. But the wait has certainly been worth it. The author shows that the genus Scyllarus s. str. is restricted to the Atlantic and Mediterranean; and establishes 13 new genera for the species from the Indo-Pacific. In the process, he also describes eight new species. The largest Indo-Pacific genus is now his new genus, Eduarctus, with seven species. Almost all the species are described and figured in detail, with colour figures provided for 12 taxa. Habitat, depth and larval data is provided and discussed whenever possible. Two monotypic genera, Antarctus and Antipodarctus, however, were only briefly diagnosed, the full treatment of these southern ocean species been left to John Yaldwyn of New Zealand. One regret would be that the author has not revised Scyllarus s. str. as well and sorted out the problems within it. As things stand, this task will almost certainly have to be taken up by his successor (whoever he or she may be).

Noteworthy is also that the journal ZOOSYSTEMA is now taking on large monographs like Holthuis’ present masterpiece on the Scyllarinae. This journal has had a very long history and throughout most of the last few decades, has been better known to its users as the BULLETIN DU MUSEUM NATIONALE D’HISTOIRE NATURELLE, 4th SERIE, SECTION A, ZOOLOGIE, PARIS. In its new format and name, which is now past its fifth year, the journal has had a timely revival and is set to carry on the excellent traditions and roles of its predecessors.

Peter K. L. Ng
Department of Biological Sciences
National University of Singapore
Kent Ridge, Singapore 119260, Republic of Singapore

First published in The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology Vol. 51(1): 174 on 30 Jun 2003.

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