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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Malacostraca
Order Amphipoda
Family Pardaliscidae

Spelaeonicippe provo Stock & Vermeulen, 1982

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Spelaeonicippe provo

Taxonomic Characterization: Amphipod with unpigmented eyes and body (intestine pink). Urosomites 2 and 3 with 1 or 2 minute dorsal setules; dorsum otherwise smooth. Coxal plates low. Lateral head lobes inconspicuous, rounded, no rostrum. Epimeral plates with rounded posterior corners. Outer ramus of the third uropod is two-segmented; second segment is very small.

Disposition of Specimens: Zo÷logisch Museum Amsterdam collection number ZMA Amphipod 107.495.

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Adults range from 3-4 mm.

Number of Species in Genus: Two, both stygobitic.

Genus Range:

  • Bahamas:
    • Exuma Cays: Spelaeonicippe provo Stock & Vermeulen, 1982
      • Oven Rock Cave (Van der Ham, 2002)
  • Caicos Islands:
    • Providenciales: Spelaeonicippe provo Stock & Vermeulen, 1982
  • Canary Islands:
    • Lanzarote: Spelaeonicippe buchi (Andres, 1975)
      • Jameos del Agua lava tube

Species Range: Known from an unnamed water hole on Providenciales, Caicos Islands (Stock & Vermeulen, 1982) and from Oven Rock Cave, Great Guana Cay, Exuma Cays, Bahamas (van der Ham, 2002).

Closest Related Species: S. buchi (Andres, 1975), previously Nicippe buchi from Lanzarote.

Habitat: Anchialine cave.

Ecology: Found in a saline, semi-dark, fissure in calcareous rocks with direct contact with the underlying water table. S. provo is pelagic species but spends much of the time on the gravel bottom of the cave. Accompanying fauna consisted only of several species of gastropods, both aquatic and terrestrial.

Evolutionary Origins: The genus Spelaeonicippe is phylogenetically allied with the sublittoral open sea genus Nicippe. Spelaeonicippe were separated from their shallow-water marine ancestors during low sea level stages of the Pleistocene.

Conservation Status: Known from two anchialine caves in the Caicos Islands and Exuma Cays.


  • Andres, H.G. 1975. Nicppe buchi n. sp., ein Pardaliscide aus einem Lavatunnel auf Lanzarote (Amphipoda, Crustacea). Mitt. Hamburg. zool Mus. Inst., 72:91-5.
  • Stock, J.H. and J.J. Vermeulen. 1982. Amsterdam expeditions to the West Indian Islands, report 16: A representative of the mainly abyssal Family Pardaliscidae (Crustacea, Amphipoda) in cave waters of the Caicos Islands. Bijdragen tot de Dierkunde, 52(1):3-12, figures 1-4, table 1.
  • van der Ham, J.L. 2002. Addition to the description of Spelaeonicippe provo (Amphipoda, Pardaliscidae). Crustaceana, 75(10):1271-1274, figure 1.


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