Phyllosoma Larvae

My main taxonomical engagement is with morphological description of phyllosoma larvae and identification through molecular techniques.
The Achelata is a group of lobsters that share a unique larval phase (the phyllosoma) and lack chelae on their first pair of pereiopods (Scholtz and Richter, 1995; Dixon et al., 2003). Even though adult morphology is well described, studies on the planktonic phyllosoma phase have been comparatively neglected given its long duration, which has made it difficult to rear them in the laboratory (Kittaka, 1997).
Despite the relatively large size of these larvae and their immediate recognition in plankton sorting, important identification problems due to the lack of detailed and specific morphological descriptions have precluded specific determination in many plankton samples.

During the last few years, we have been able to identify several phyllosoma larvae to the species level.