Bahadzia bozanici Holsinger, 1992
Taxonomic Characterization: Small to medium-sized amphipod lacking eyes and pigment. Easily distinguishable from other species in the genus by having more numerous facial setae on inner plate of maxilla 2 and numerous long setae on posterior margin of segment 6 of pereiopod 6. A key to the genus is presented in Jaume & Wagner, 1998.
Disposition of Specimens: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution catalog number USNM 239475; Zo÷logisch Museum, Amsterdam; and in the private collection of John Holsinger.
Ecological Classification: Stygobitic
Size: Largest males to 5.0 mm; largest females to 6.0 mm
Number of Species in Genus: Eleven (10 anchialine and 1 freshwater), all stygobitic
Genus range for Bahadzia
Species Range: B. bozanici inhabits one cave (Cenote Carwash)
on the mainland near Tulum and two (Cueva Quebrada and Cenote Aereolita) on the
island of Cozumel (Holsinger, 1992).
Closest Related Species: B. bozanici and B. setodactylus appear to be sister taxa that evolved from a common ancestor (Holsinger 1992).
Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves
Ecology: Specimens from Cueva Quebrada were collected below a halocline in mesohaline waters (19 ppt salinity) at 2-4 m depth and were commonly observed. Those from Aereolita Cenote were taken from ceiling pockets in brackish/marine waters above a halocline, while in Carwash Cenote specimens were collected below a halocline (35 ppt salinity) at 21-23 m depth (Holsinger, 1992).
Life History: Only two of approximately 60 female specimens were ovigerous. A 5.5 mm female carried two large embryos, while a 6.0 mm specimen had three (Holsinger, 1992).
Evolutionary Origins: The genus Bahadzia is most closely allied phylogenetically with Mayaweckelia and Tuluweckelia from the Yucatan Peninsula (Holsinger, 1992). Of these three genera, Bahadzia represents the most recent cave colonization event, thought to have occurred during the middle to late Pleistocene. B. bozanici is believed to be close to the putative ancestral species that independently and simultaneously colonized caves on both Cozumel and the mainland (Holsinger, 1992). B. setodactylus, inhabiting an adjacent but apparently separate aquifer system on Cozumel, has diverged to a greater degree.
Conservation Status: Limited distribution from caves on the Yucatan mainland near Tulum and from the island of Cozumel.
Contributor: John Holsinger, Old Dominion University, Norfolk, VA
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