Metanephrops Challengeri

WFC scampiThe New Zealand scampi (aka Metanephrops challengeri) is an endemic deep-sea clawed lobster. They reside on the sea floor at depths anywhere from 140 meters to 640 meters (reported depths). The Asia-Pacific waters contain the majority of the extant Metanephrops species and studies have been conducted regarding their evolution, diet and biology. There has been a breakthrough at the Cawthron Institute (Nelson, New Zealand) and research is progressing in order to make NZ scampi farming a reality. Update: This research has now been concluded.

My first objective for my PhD project was to optimize the molecular methods for diet assessment using DNA metabarcoding- PeerJ article. The second objective focused on expanding the study with the optimized methodology to understand what variables may cause the diet to vary – e.g., sex or size – and if there may be an underlying trend – This article has been accepted for publication pending minor revisions. Lastly, I focused on evaluating the population structure within NZ waters using genotyping-by-sequencing (GBS) and particle modelling.


Some references dealing with Metanephrops:


Ahn DH, Min GS, Park JK, and Kim S. 2016. The complete mitochondrial genome of the red-banded lobster Metanephrops thomsoni (Crustacea, Astacidea, Nephropidae): A novel gene order. Mitochondrial DNA 27:2663-2664. 10.3109/19401736.2015.1043536

Chan T-Y. 1997. Crustacea Decapoda: Palinuridae, Scyllaridae and Nephropidae collected in Indonesia by the KARUBAR Cruise, with an identification key for the species of Metanephrops. In: Bouchetm ACaP, ed. Resultats des Campagnes MUSORSTOM Me`moires du Muse`um National d’Histoire Naturelle, 409-431.

Chan TY, Ho KC, Li CP, and Chu KH. 2009. Origin and diversification of the clawed lobster genus Metanephrops (Crustacea: Decapoda: Nephropidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 50:411-422. 10.1016/j.ympev.2008.11.020

Feldmann RM. 1989. Metanephrops jenkinsi n. sp. (Decapoda: Nephropidae) from the Cretaceous and Paleocene of Seymour Island, Antarctica. Journal of Paleontology 63:64-69. 10.1017/S0022336000040968

Feldmann RM, Tshudy DM, and Michael RAT. 1993. Late Cretaceous and Paleocene Decapod Crustaceans from James Ross Basin, Antarctic Peninsula. Memoir (The Paleontological Society) 28:1-41.

Jenkins RJF. 1972. Metanephrops, a new genus of late pilocene to recent lobsters (Decapoda, Nephropidae). Crustaceana 22:161-177.

Tshudy D, Chan TY, and Sorhannus U. 2007. Morphology based cladistic analysis of Metanephrops: The most diverse extant genus of clawed lobster (Nephropidae). Journal of Crustacean Biology 27:463-476. 10.1651/S-2777.1


Berry, P. (1969). The biology of Nephrops andamanicus Wood-Mason (Decapoda, Reptantia). Report no. 22.

Choi JH, Kim JN, Kim MH, Chang DS, Yoo JT, and Kim JK. 2008. Population biology and feeding habits of the nephropid lobster Metanephrops thomsoni (Bate, 1888) in the East China Sea. Journal of Environmental Biology 29:453-456.

Katoh E, Sbragaglia V, Aguzzi J, and Breithaupt T. 2013. Sensory and Behaviour of Nephrops norvegicus. In: Johnson ML, and Johnson MP, eds. Advances in Marine Biology: The Ecology and Biology of Nephrops Norvegicus. London: Elsevier 10.1016/B978-0-12-410466-2.00003-0

Major RN, and Jeffs AG. 2017. Orientation and food search behaviour of a deep sea lobster in turbulent versus laminar odour plumes. Helgoland Marine Research 71:9. 0489-8

Major RN, and Jeffs AG. 2018. Laboratory comparison of potential natural baits for potting New Zealand scampi, Metanephrops challengeri. Bulletin of Marine Science 94(3):635-655. 10.5343/bms.2017.1096

Major RN, Ogilvie SC, and Jeffs AG. (2017). Laboratory investigations of the foraging behaviour of New Zealand scampi. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 497:99-106. 10.1016/j.jembe.2017.09.010

Sahlmann C, Chan TY, and Chan BKK. 2011. Feeding modes of deep-sea lobsters (Crustacea: Decapoda: Nephropidae and Palinuridae) in Northwest Pacific waters: Functional morphology of mouthparts, feeding behaviour and gut content analysis. Zoologischer Anzeiger 250:55-66. 10.1016/j.jcz.2010.11.003

van der Reis AL, Laroche O, Jeffs AG, Lavery SD. 2018. Preliminary analysis of New Zealand scampi (Metanephrops challengeri) diet using metabarcoding. PeerJ 6:e5641. 10.7717/peerj.5641

Wahle RA, Tshudy D, Cobb JS, Factor J, and Jaini M. 2012. Infraorder Astacidea Latreille, 1802 p.p.: the marine clawed lobsters. In: Schram FR, and von Vaupel Klein JC, eds. Treatise on Zoology – Anatomy, Taxonomy, Biology The Crustacea, Volume 9 Part B. Boston: Brill 3-108.

Wassenberg TJ, and Hill BJ. 1989. Diets of four decapod crustaceans (Linuparus trigonus, Metanephrops andamanicus, M. australiensis and M. boschmai) from the continental shelf around Australia. Marine Biology 103:161-167. 10.1007/BF00543343

Population Structure, M. challengeri

Smith PJ. 1999. Allozyme variation in scampi (Metanephrops challengeri) fisheries around New Zealand. New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 33(3):491-497. 10.1080/00288330.1999.9516894

Verry AJF, Walton K, Tuck ID, and Ritchie PA. 2020. Genetic structure and recent population expansion in the commercially harvested deepsea decapod, Metanephrops challengeri (Crustacea: Decapoda). New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research 54(2):251-270. 10.1080/00288330.2019.1707696

Biology, M. challengeri

Heasman KG, and Jeffs AG. (2019). Fecundity and potential juvenile production for aquaculture of the New Zealand scampi, Metanephrops challengeri (Balss, 1914) (Decapoda: Nephropidae). Aquaculture 511:634184. 10.1016/j.aquaculture.2019.05.069