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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Copepoda
Order Calanoida
Family Epacteriscidae

Enantiosis cavernicola Barr, 1984

Taxonomic Characterization:
Swimming legs except male fifth legs are primitive, with 3-segmented rami. Unlike the females, the males have asymmetrical, highly modified fifth legs, which act as a complex grasping organ. The vestigial mandibular endopod, deeply incised mandibular gnathobasis with pointed cusps, reduced number of setae on the first maxillae, and spinous setae of the second maxillae and maxillipeds suggest a predaceous lifestyle (Barr, 1984).

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Adult females' length ranges from 1.29-1.46 mm. The adult males' length ranges from 1.15-1.23 mm.

Number of Species in Genus: Seven, all stygobitic

Genus Range:

  • Bahamas:
    • San Salvador: Enantiosis cavernicola Barr, 1984
  • Belize:
    • Enantiosis belizensis Fosshagen, Boxshall & Iliffe, 2001
  • Bermuda:
    • Enantiosis bermudensis Fosshagen, Boxshall & Iliffe, 2001
  • Fiji:
    • Enantiosis dicerata Fosshagen, Boxshall & Iliffe, 2001
  • Galapagos:
    • Enantiosis galapagensis Fosshagen, Boxshall & Iliffe, 2001
  • Palau:
    • Enantiosis conspinulata Fosshagen, Boxshall & Iliffe, 2001
    • Enantiosis longiprocessa Fosshagen, Boxshall & Iliffe, 2001

Species Range: Known only from Lighthouse Cave, San Salvador Island, Bahamas.

Closest Related Species: Enantiosis belizensis Fosshagen, Boxshall & Iliffe, 2001

Habitat: Anchialine limestone cave

Ecology: This species is a bottom-dwelling copepod. It was collected in a depth of 2 m in fully marine salinity water (35 g/l). Morphological characteristics of the mouthparts indicate a predaceous lifestyle.

Life History: 6 female and 2 male specimens collected. Life stages unknown.

Evolutionary Origins: Based on the structure of the male fifth legs, Enantiosis is thought to closely resemble the Ridgewayiidae. Though due to the lack of female fifth legs in Enantiosis, it is suggested that in fact, they are not closely related.

Conservation Status: Restricted to a single cave on San Salvador Island in the Bahamas.


  • Barr, D. 1984. Enantiosis cavernicola, a new genus and species of demersal copepod (Calanoida: Epacteriscidae) from San Salvador Island, Bahamas. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 97:160-166, 3 figures.
  • Fosshagen, A., G.A. Boxshall and T.M. Iliffe. 2001. The Epacteriscidae, a cave-living family of calanoid copepods. Sarsia, 86:245-318. [Abstract] [Reprint - very large PDF file]


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