The carapace of Panulirus argus is subcylindrical and bears many strong, forward-facing spines. A pair of rostral horns projects forward over the stalked eyes. Whip-like antennae are longer than the body and are studded with small spines and setae. Antennules are also elongate, extending approximately 2/3 body length. The abdomen is notched along its lateral margins, but is otherwise smooth. Each segment of the abdomen has a transverse groove that is disrupted at the midline. The central telson is flanked by 2 pairs of biramous uropods. Body color is varied, but is generally a gray or tan base color mottled with shades of green, red, brown, purple, or black. The second and sixth segments of the abdomen have large yellow or white ocelli, with smaller ocelli scattered dorsolaterally along the abdomen. Legs are striped longitudinally in a dull blue color. Dactyls of the walking legs are setose. Pleopods are bright orange and black. The endopodites in female pleopods are well developed and hook-like, bearing many setae. In juveniles, antennae and pereopods are banded with white; and a broad white stripe runs the length of the dorsal midline across both the carapace and abdomen. Panulirus argus is sexually dimorphic, with females distinguished from males by differences in the sternum, legs and genital openings. In males, the sternum is somewhat broader and lacks the striations that are commonly found in females. The second pair of walking legs in males is more elongate than the other legs, and bears longer, curved dactyls. Females have small chelae on the dactyls of the fifth pair of walking legs. The raised genital openings of males are located ventrally, on the bases of the fifth pair of walking legs. In females, the gonopores are set at the bases of the third pair of walking legs. II . HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION
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