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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Copepoda
Order Calanoida
Family Epacteriscidae

Bomburiella gigas Fosshagen, Boxshall & Iliffe, 2001

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Bomburiella gigas: after Fosshagen et al., 2001

Taxonomic Characterization: The morphology of the urosome with asymmetrical caudal setae in female, the modifications of the labrum and paragnaths around the oral opening, the powerfully developed mandibular gnathobase, the elongate maxilliped with some very long setae, together with the characteristic leg 5 of the male are all distinguishing characters of the species. Caudal seta V on the left ramus is considerably longer than corresponding seta on right and seta VI on the left ramus has a dense unilateral tuft of small setules near the base. The female urosome is 4-segmented with the anal somite being only slightly shorter than the preceding somite and the genital double-somite with aperture located obliquely on the left side, one specimen with a spermatophore attached to left side. The male urosome is 5-segmented and the genital somite swollen on left side, about equal in length to second urosomite. The extreme maxilliped development is exhibited in another epacteriscid, Bofuriella vorata. This is the largest species of epacteriscid known.

Disposition of Specimens: All specimens were deposited in the Museum of Natural History, London: female holotype BM(NH) 1998.2245; paratypes BM(NH) 1998.2246-2250; non-type BM(NH) 1998.2770.

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Bomburiella gigas

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Body length of females range from 2.95 to 3.31 mm, with a mean of 3.17 mm; males 2.82 to 3.05 mm, with a mean of 2.92 mm. 

Number of Species in Genus: One

Species Range: This species is known from Oven Rock Cave in the Great Guana Cay, Exuma Cays, Bahamas and Sanctuary Blue Hole on South Andros Island.

Closest Related Species: Bomburiella gigas is closest to Bofuriella vorata, also from the Bahamas. Characters of the antennule are shared between the two and not found in other epacteriscids.

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: Specimens were collected at depths of 0-18 m in Oven Rock Cave using a plankton net and suction bottle where it was found in occurrence with Enantronoides bahamensis and B. vorata. Stargate specimens were collected from 30-36 m depth and were found together with ostracods, thermosbaenaceans and polychaetes (Fosshagen et al., 2001). Sanctuary specimens were collected between 35 and 50 m depth (Fosshagen & Iliffe, 2004). The robust structure of its mouthparts suggest that it is a raptorial feeder. 

Life History: 8 females, 5 males and 5 copepodids were collected from Oven Rock Cave in 1995, 1996 and 1998, while 1 female and 1 copepodid were found in Stargate Blue Hole in 1997 (Fosshagen et al., 2001). Additional records of 1 female in 2001 and 2 females and 1 copepodid in 2002 at Oven Rock Cave and 1 female and 2 copepodids from Sanctuary Blue Hole, South Andros (situated about 1 km away from Stargate) in 1999 were reported in Fosshagen & Iliffe (2004).

Conservation Status: Restricted to three anchialine caves - one in the Exuma Cays and two on South Andros Island.


  • Fosshagen, A. and T.M Iliffe. 2004. New epacteriscids (Copepoda, Calanoida) from anchialine caves in the Bahamas. Sarsia, 89(2): 117-136. [Abstract] [Reprint - PDF file]


Contributors: Audun Fosshagen, University of Bergen, Norway; Geoff Boxshall, Museum of Natural History, London

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