Galathea - Galathea squamifera

We are in one of the many underwater caves of the Mediterranean Sea where the colors of the red coral, Corallium rubrum and Yellow cluster anemone, Parazoanthus-axinellae, explode in a splendid show that we can only find in caves.

However, the caves are also the ideal habitat for many species of crustaceans such as the Galathea, Galathea squamifera, and the cave crab, Herbstia condyliata. We mention these two species because we weren’t sure which of the two we had met, even if from a more accurate view of the film, from the behavior of the crustacean and from the depth of about 23 meters, it is probably  Galathea, perhaps it is precisely the Galathea squamifera.

Galathea Black squat lobster Galathea squamifera
Galathea Black squat lobster Galathea squamifera

Galathea squamifera Leach, 1814 is a decapod crustacean belonging to the Galatheidae family widespread in the Mediterranean and the Atlantic Ocean. It was the second species in the genus Galathea to be described.

It is a small crustacean even for a galateid: the carapace rarely exceeds 3 cm in length, and the body, whose abdomen is partially folded under the cephalothorax, remains around 6.5. This, together with the rusty to greenish-brown coloration in adults, allows it to be easily distinguished from Galathea strigosa. The coloring of the juveniles has shades more tending towards red.

Like the other species of the genus Galathea, it has transverse crests of setae on the carapace, tuberculate chelipeds and a toothed rostrum with 4 teeth per side; distinctive features of this species are the presence of 4-5 spines on the mere (second article) of the third massillipede and two spines in the epigastric region (behind the rostrum), one on each side.

Galathea Black squat lobster Galathea squamifera
Galathea Black squat lobster Galathea squamifera

Biology. Feeding Detritivore.

It is often preyed upon by bony fishes such as Serranus atricauda and Scorpaena porcus.

Distribution and habitat
It has a large range, which includes the Mediterranean Sea, the North Sea (up to Norway) and the eastern Atlantic Ocean up to the Azores. It is common in northern Europe and its type locality is the south coast of Devon.

It is a species that tends to hide in rocky ravines and lives mainly in areas rich in aquatic vegetation between 3 and 20 m of depth; the young specimens can go even up to 70.


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