As part of a multidisciplinary study of recruitment to South Florida reefs, lobster phyllosoma larvae were sampled with a MOCNESS to describe their vertical and horizontal distribution in relation to coastal oceanography. A total of 850 phyllosomata of the genus Panulirus, 200
of the genus Scyllarus, and 43 of the genus Scyllarides were caught at 26 stations. The phyllosomata of Scyllarus spp. were more abundant near shore, while those of Panulirus spp. phyllosomata were distinctly more abundant at offshore stations. All stages of Scyllarus
were present in comparable proportions, but 60% of Panulirus were stage-I larvae. Scyllarides phyllosomata were similar to Panulirus in distribution and stage composition. Limited data from three additional anchor stations showed small range of diel vertical migration
in the upper 75 m by Panulirus stages IV–VIII. Vertical migration crossed the thermocline but did not go below the 24° C isotherm. These preliminary data support the hypothesis that Scyllarus is locally recruited while Panulirus and Scyllarides are recruited
from upstream populations.
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