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RARELY-SEEN NEPTUNE LOBSTER ADDED TO TAIWAN SPECIES LIST

A lobster species rarely caught by local fishermen has been included for the first time on the TaiBNET (Catalogue of Life in Taiwan) maintained by the Biodiversity Research Center at Academia Sinica, Chang Jung-hsiang and Elizabeth Hsu reported for Taiwan’s Central News Agency (CNA).

Huang Ming-chih, an associate professor from the Department of Biological Sciences and Technology at National University of Tainan, acquired 10 Neptune lobsters -- scientifically named Metanephrops neptunus -- from fishermen based in Cheng Pin fishing port in Keelung, according to the school's statement released.


The lobsters were caught in waters close to the Pratas Islands in the South China Sea in July 2019, the statement said. Known locally as red-head lobsters, the lobsters are rarely seen among the catches of Taiwanese fishermen, with fewer than 40 caught each year. They were one of the most expensive items being sold in the Keelung seafood market, the statement said.


Notably, there were three ovigerous females and seven mature males, which facilitated more detailed research into the species, on which there's few scientific records, the statement said. Relatively little is known about this lobster species and only minimal related research has been conducted domestically and internationally, Huang told CNA. Registering the crustacean on TaiBNET represents the first step in seeking to protect the species, he added. Huang thanked Tadashi Kawai, chief researcher at the Hokkaido Research Organization under Japan's Central Fisheries Research Institution, for the latter's assistance in identifying the rare species and recording its features in detail and providing pictures.





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