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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Copepoda
Order Calanoida
Family Epacteriscidae

Balinella ornata Fosshagen, Boxshall & Iliffe, 2001

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Balinella ornata: after Fosshagen et al., 2001

Taxonomic Characterization: Females have a 4-segmented urosome and a rostrum with two closely-set, rounded lobes bearing a pair of stout filaments. The caudal rami are longer than wide and only slightly asymmetrical. Males have a 5-segmented urosome and asymmetrical caudal rami. B. ornata is unique in having an elongate caudal seta V on the right ramus of the female and on the left ramus of the male and in having rows of spinules on the praecoxal and coxal endites (Fosshagen, Boxshall & Iliffe, 2001).

Disposition of Specimens: All specimens were deposited in the The Museum of Natural History, London: female holotype BM(NH) 1998.2773; male paratype BM(NH) 2001.392.

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Body length of female 1.20 mm; male 1.33 mm.

Number of Species in Genus: Two

Genus Range: The genus Balinella was originally reported from the Exuma Cays on the Great Bahama Bank (Fosshagen et al., 2001) and Sweetings Cay, near Grand Bahama Island, on the Little Bahama Bank (Fosshagen & Iliffe, 2004).  These two shallow water banks are separated from one another by a deep water channel.  Balinella yucatanensis is the first member of the calanoid family Epacteriscidae to be reported from Mexico.

Species Range: This species was originally described from Norman's Pond Cave on Norman's Pond Cay, Exuma Cays, Bahamas.  New records of the species from Virgo Blue Hole, Sagittarius Blue Hole, and Lucy's Cave, all on Sweetings Cay, near Grand Bahama Island were reported by Fosshagen & Iliffe (2004).  The new records are on the Little Bahama Bank, separated by a deep water channel from Norman's Pond Cave on the Great Bahama Bank.

Closest Related Species: B. ornata is most closely related to its only congener B. yucatanenis inhabiting anchialine caves in the Bahamas.  The genus Balinella resembles Erebonectes and Erebonectoides in retaining many plesiomorphic characters and few reductions and modifications of the mouthparts (Fosshagen et al., 2001).

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: The two specimens were collected in the upper levels of Norman's Pond Cave with a fine mesh plankton net in 10-35 m water depths. One specimen was collected from silt, while the other was collected from the water column. Norman's Pond Cave is close to the coast and is fully marine. It was found in occurrence with Exumellina bucculenta and a stephid calanoid copepod belonging to Miostephos.  The Sweetings Cay specimens were collected from fully marine waters between 15-25 m depths in inland, anchialine blue holes.

Life History: 1 female and 1 male were collected from Norman's Pond Cave.  Sweetings Cay material included 5 males, 3 females and 8 copepodids.

Evolution: Epacteriscid copepods frequently co-occur with remipeds, considered among the oldest crustaceans, suggests an ancient origin for the Epacteriscidae (Fosshagen et al., 2001).

Conservation Status: Restricted to four caves - one in the Exuma Cays on the Great Bahama Bank and three from Sweetings Cay on the Little Bahama Bank.


  • 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]
  • Suárez-Morales, E., F.D. Ferrari and T.M. Iliffe. 2006. A new epacteriscid copepod (Calanoida: Epacteriscidae) from the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico, with comments on the biogeography of the family. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 119: 222–238. [Abstract] [Reprint - PDF file]


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

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