First Non-native North American Marine/Estuarine Record: 2012
First Non-native East/Gulf Coast Marine/Estuarine Record: 2012
Panulirus versicolor has a broad native range in the Indo-Pacific, spanning from the Red Sea to South Africa, southern Japan, northern Australia, Micronesia, and Polynesia (Holthuis 1991; Appeltans et al. 2013). In August 2012, one specimen was caught in the Brunswick River, Georgia, the first reported wild non-native occurrence of this lobster, a popular aquarium species (Page et al. 2013).
In August 2012, one specimen of P. versicolor, about 180 mm in size, was caught by a fisherman in the Brunswick River, near the commercial port of Brunswick, GA and given to the Georgia Department of Natural Resources. It was identified as the Indo-Pacific species P. versicolor (Page 2013). This species is a popular aquarium animal, because of its striking coloration. Web searches indicate that it is sold and kept worldwide. Ballast water transport is a possibility - spiny lobsters have long-lived planktonic larvae, and the lobster was caught 500 m from a cargo-ship dock (Barnes 1983; Page 2013).