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Palibythus magnificus, sometimes called the musical furry lobster,[5] is a species of furry lobster found in Polynesia. It is generally included in the family Palinuridae, although it has also been separated from that family with the genus Palinurellus to form the family Synaxidae in the past.[6] The species is known in Samoan as ula moana,[5] a name which also covers the deep-water shrimp Heterocarpus laevigatus.[7]

Palibythus magnificus
Scientific classification

Davie, 1990 [2][3]
P. magnificus
Binomial name
Palibythus magnificus
Davie, 1990 [2][4]


Palibythus is only known to occur around Samoa and the Tuamotu Archipelago.[8] It lives at greater depth than Palinurellus – from 90 to 300 m (300–980 ft) – and is slightly larger, at up to 27 cm (11 in) in length.[9] All the specimens held in natural history museums stem from the waters of Samoa, with only photos so far known of an animal from the Tuamotu Archipelago that is "almost definitely this species".[2]


Like other spiny lobsters (with the exception of the genera Jasus and Projasus), Palibythus is capable of making a loud screeching noise to distract or discourage potential predators. This is achieved by rubbing plectra at the base of the antennae against elongated "files" on the sides of the antennular plate.[10]


Palibythus was originally placed with Palinurellus in the family Synaxidae, on the basis that both genera possess a triangular rostrum which is absent in the other genera of spiny lobsters, and that both genera lack the supra-orbital horns found in the other spiny lobster genera.[11] Despite this, however, the two genera of furry lobsters are not sister taxa. The genera most closely related to Palibythus are Panulirus and Palinurus, while Palinurellus is closest to Jasus and Projasus, two other genera which lack the stridulating organ.[12]


Although Palibythus is a large enough lobster to provide food for human consumption, its rarity, and the depths at which it lives, seem to preclude any commercial fishery.[6]


  1. ^ A. MacDiarmid (2011). "Palibythus magnificus". The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN. 2011: e.T170033A6715102. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2011-1.RLTS.T170033A6715102.en. Retrieved 9 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b c P. J. F. Davie (1990). "A new genus and species of marine crayfish, Palibythus magnificus, and new records of Palinurellus (Decapoda : Palinuridae) from the Pacific Ocean". Invertebrate Taxonomy. 4 (4): 685–695. doi:10.1071/IT9900685.
  3. ^ "Palibythus Davie, 1990". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  4. ^ "Palibythus magnificus Davie, 1990". Integrated Taxonomic Information System. Retrieved August 22, 2011.
  5. ^ a b "Musical furry lobster (Palibythus magnificus)". Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Government of Samoa. Retrieved February 18, 2009.
  6. ^ a b Lipke Holthuis (1990). "Synaxidae" (PDF). FAO Species Catalogue. Vol. 13. Marine Lobsters of the World. Food and Agriculture Organization. p. 167. ISBN 978-92-5-103027-1. Online version: Palibythus magnificus Archived 2011-06-08 at the Wayback Machine
  7. ^ "Deep water shrimps (Heterocaprus laevigatus) [sic]". Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment, Government of Samoa. Retrieved February 18, 2009.
  8. ^ "Countries where Palibythus magnificus is found". SeaLifeBase. Retrieved February 18, 2009.
  9. ^ "Synaxidae" (PDF). pp. 1001–1004.
  10. ^ S. N. Patek & T. H. Oakley (2003). "Comparative tests of evolutionary trade-offs in a palinurid lobster acoustic system". Evolution. 57 (9): 2082–2100. doi:10.1554/02-608. JSTOR 3448881. PMID 14575329.
  11. ^ R. W. George (2006). "Tethys origin and subsequent radiation of the spiny lobsters (Palinuridae)". Crustaceana. 79 (4): 397–422. doi:10.1163/156854006777554848.
  12. ^ Ferran Palero; Keith A. Crandall; Pere Abelló; Enrique Macpherson & Marta Pascual (2009). "Phylogenetic relationships between spiny, slipper and coral lobsters (Crustacea, Decapoda, Achelata)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 50 (1): 152–162. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2008.10.003. PMID 18957325.

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