Alternate Title

First Record of Ceratapsis monstrosa, a Larval Oceanic Penaeoid Crustacean, From the Gulf of Mexico

Document Type

Short Communication


The genus Cerataspis (Gray, 1838) (Crustacea, Decapoda), assigned to the Penaeoidea by Burkenroad (1936) and Heegaard (1966), has circumglobal distribution between 40ºN and 40ºS (Morgan et al. 1985) and is represented in the Atlantic Ocean by two rarely collected species, C. monstrosa and C. petiti. Descriptions of both species are based on the larval forms since their adult form remain undescribed (Morgan et al. 1985). Although the larval development of Cerataspis is described by five mysis stages (I-V) (Heegaard 1966), the large larva is very un-mysid like and appears more like that of a megalops with the abdomen bend slightly toward the thorax. Other early developmental stages and life history aspects of Cerataspis are unknown. The bulky shape of the spectacular carapace with its various tubercles, horns, spines and large oil droplets contained in four pair of dorsal carapace tubercles most likely provide buoyancy for this pelagic life stage (Heegaard 1966, Morgan et al. 1985). Although larval Cerataspis, particularly the last three mysis stages, are typically pelagic, Heegaard (1966) suggested the adult form might be a reptant penaeoid which lives in the abyssal zone.

Heegaard (1966) reported 41 specimens of Cerataspis (26 C. monstrosa; 15 C. petiti) by mysis larval stage. Nine of the C. monstrosa (six from plankton samples; three from stomach contents of dolphinfish (Coryphaena spp.) and 13 of the C. petiti (all from plankton collections) were reported from the Atlantic Ocean. Morgan et al. (1985) further provided analysis of an additional 240 specimens of Cerataspis collected during surveys conducted off the southeastern United States, including Batts (1972), Manooch et al. (1983), and Manooch and Mason (1984). One of those specimens was collected by plankton net, and all others were found in the stomach contents of either yellowfin tuna (Thunnus albacares), blackfin tuna (Thunnus atlanticus), skipjack tuna (Katsuwonus pelamis) or dolphinfish (Coryphaena hippurus). To date, assessment of plankton collections and food habits of pelagic fishes from the Atlantic Ocean, inclusive of the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) (Heegaard 1966, Morgan et al. 1985), has provided no records of Cerataspis from the GOM. We report the first record of C. monstrosa from the GOM, one collected by plankton net and two collected from the esophagus of a wahoo, Acanthocybium solandri.

First Page


Last Page