Mortality events during live transport of Jasus edwardsii rock lobsters are common around the time of season openings in Tasmania, with lobsters from deeper fishing areas with pale shell colouration (brindle) being perceived as more susceptible than shallow-water, red-coloured (red) lobsters. The aims of this study were to assess and predict the vulnerability of brindle and red lobsters to extended emersion exposure using pre- and post-emersion data which included 28 haemolymph biochemical parameters and 5 behaviour traits. No effect of lobster shell colour on haemolymph biochemistry, behaviour traits and their vulnerability to emersion was found. A combined survival of 97% after 40 h and 57% after 64 h in a first experiment, and 37% after 64 h in a second experiment, was observed. Behaviour traits (i.e., righting response, tail flips and three reflex behaviours) were poor indicator of survival. Haemolymph parameters were either unaffected by emersion (e.g., Brix index, protein and lipids), affected by emersion but not associated with mortality (e.g., total haemocyte counts, calcium, magnesium, bicarbonate, glucose and uric acid), or associated with mortality following a recovery period (e.g., pH, the sodium to potassium ratio, urea, and the activity of amylase). A build-up of anaerobic end-products and nitrogenous waste most likely resulted in the mortality. A model based on lobster size and the pre-emersion concentration of haemolymph bicarbonate and haemocyanin was found to be a useful indicator of future survival. This study provides promising leads towards the development of a blood based vulnerability test for live crustacean prior transport. © 2016
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Simon, C.J., Mendo, T.C., Green, B.S. & Gardner, C. 2016, "Predicting transport survival of brindle and red rock lobsters Jasus edwardsii using haemolymph biochemistry and behaviour traits", Comparative Biochemistry and Physiology -Part A : Molecular and Integrative Physiology, vol. 201, pp. 101-109.
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