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Using Red Light with Fixed-site Video Cameras to Study the Behavior of the Spiny Lobster, Panulirus argus, and Associated Animals at Night and Inside Their Shelters

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Fixed-site video cameras can be a powerful tool for studying marine animals in the sea without disturbing their behavior. Artificial light is required to use these cameras at night or in dark places such as inside animal dens. Red light is theoretically the best choice because the eyes of many marine animals are relatively insensitive to light above 600 nm wavelength, red light penetrates water much further than infrared, and many video cameras are highly sensitive to red light. This study found that video and red light can be used at night in the sea to study the behavior of spiny lobster, Panulirus argus, without significant effects. The shelter occupancy rate of tethered lobsters was similar in continuous red light as in the dark and red light did not attract or repel free-living lobsters. Red light did attract a small additional number of fish which were already nearby the lobster shelters and did not appear to disturb the lobsters. Loss of P. argus from octopus predation was similar in red light as in the dark. Six species of predators (two triggerfishes, an octopus, two snappers, and a moray eel) were recorded on videotape killing lobsters at shelters in the sea. Predation usually occurred outside the shelters. Other species scavenged on the lobster remains after they were killed. A variety of animals frequently cohabited with lobsters inside shelters for a few minutes to several days. The interactions of these animals with the lobsters rarely involved any strong aggression or defensive behavior.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: 2006-09-01

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  • The Marine Technology Society Journal is the flagship publication of the Marine Technology Society. It publishes the highest caliber, peer-reviewed papers on subjects of interest to the society: marine technology, ocean science, marine policy and education. The Journal is dedicated to publishing timely special issues on emerging ocean community concerns while also showcasing general interest and student-authored works.
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