Spatial distribution and size structure of the squat lobster Agononida longipes (A. Milne Edwards, 1880) (Crustacea: Decapoda: Galatheoidea: Munididae) in the Colombian Caribbean
ABSTRACT Squat lobsters are distributed worldwide and are ecologically important in deep-sea bottoms. Agononida longipes is reported as the most abundant squat lobster in the southern Gulf of Mexico, and also occurs along the coast of Brazil and in the Colombian Caribbean. This study aimed to describe the spatial and bathymetric distribution of biomass and size structure of the squat lobster A. longipes in the Colombian Caribbean. Specimens were collected in the Colombian Caribbean between 100 and 550 m of depth. A total of 826 deep-sea squat lobsters was caught and analyzed. The size of A. longipes females and males ranged from 21.17 to 57.43 mm TL (mean 45.07 ± 5.51 mm) and from 23.59 to 54.85 mm TL (mean 42.96 ± 5.60 mm), respectively, revealing smaller mean sizes for males than for females. The length-weight relationship showed negative allometric growth for both sexes. Agononida longipes presented the highest abundance in the depth strata 300-400 m with the highest biomass in front of Riohacha in the northern zone and front of Cartagena in the southern zone. The highest abundance of this species in the northern zone of the Colombian Caribbean coincided with a high diversity of other potential deep-sea fishing resources. The knowledge about the distribution, abundance and life cycle of A. longipes is imperative for proper management under an ecosystem approach.