Puerulus and early juvenile stages of the spiny lobster Palinurus mauritanicus Gruvel, 1911 from the western Mediterranean are described and illustrated, and their morphological characteristics are compared with those described in other palinurids. This constitutes the first detailed morphological description of a puerulus of the genus Palinurus. The puerulus of P. mauritanicus presents a carapace already with some spines characteristic of the adult phase, which allows to differentiate it from the congeneric species Palinurus elephas (Fabricius, 1787) co-occurring in most of its distribution area. The puerulus of P. mauritanicus can be differentiated from those described for pueruli of the genera Panulirus and Jasus by the presence of very long, flagellated, and setose exopods on maxillipeds 2 and 3. The puerulus of P. mauritanicus resembles those described for Projasus by the presence of the crista dentata on the third maxilliped. The morphology and differential colouration of the early juvenile with respect to the adult are described.
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Vol. 26 • No. 4