The reef lobsters of the family Enoplometopidae de Saint Laurent, 1988 are attractive marine aquarium pets but the generic assignments have been controversial. Molecular phylogeny using five genetic markers (three mitochondrial and two nuclear) on 11 of the 12 species known in the family successfully reconstructed a robust phylogenetic tree for the reef lobsters with two well-supported groups. The genus Hoplometopus Holthuis, 1983 is revived but with diagnostic characters revised and H. voigtmanni (Türkay, 1989) should be treated as a synonym of H. holthuisi (Gordon, 1968). Four synapomorphies are identified in Enoplometopidae, including the number of the intermediate and postcervical teeth on the carapace, the shape of abdominal pleura and the spination of the palm of large chelipeds. Fossil calibration and ancestral range reconstruction analyses suggested that reef lobsters had a Tethyan deeper water origin and emerged during the Cretaceous period. Enoplometopus s.s. was relatively primitive, whereas Hoplometopus diverged in the Central Indo-Pacific in the Upper Cretaceous and later crossed the Mediterranean into the Atlantic. Overall the family Enoplometopidae mainly speciated in the Central Indo-Pacific, and actively re-occupied shallow-water habitats and invaded temperate regions.
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Vol. 36 • No. 11