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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Copepoda
Order Calanoida
Family Epacteriscidae

Erebonectoides macrochaetus (Fosshagen, 1994)

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Erebonectoides macrochaetus: after Fosshagen & Iliffe, 1994

Taxonomic Characterization: One furcal seta on left side is extremely elongated, the endopod of mandible is reduced and in first leg, the first segment of endopod has an elongated process on its outer distal corner (Fosshagen & Iliffe, 1994).

Disposition of Specimens: British Museum of Natural History, catalog numbers 1993.407-8.

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Adult female in 0.97 mm in total length; adult male 1.03 mm.

Number of Species in Genus: One

Genus Range:

  • Caicos Islands:
    • Middle Caicos Island: E. macrochaetus (Fosshagen, 1994)
    • Providenciales Island: E. macrochaetus (Fosshagen, 1994)

Species Range: This species is known from two caves in the Caicos Islands: The Hole, Providenciales Island and Conch Bar Cave, Middle Caicos Island.

Closest Related Species: Resembles Erebonectes nesioticus from Bermuda.

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: Collected at depths of 0-1 m. Found in brackish waters. The floor of The Hole is completely choked by breakdown and surface debris. Additional fauna from The Hole include: the ostracod Deeveya spiralis, the lepostracan Speonebalia cannoni, and the hadziid amphipod Bahadzia stocki. Associated faunas from Conch Bar Cave include: the amphipod Spelaeonicippe provo, the shrimps Barbouria cubensis and Typhlatya garciai, and the mysid Stygiomysis clarkei (Fosshagen & Iliffe, 1994).

Life History: Three specimens have been collected including one adult male, one adult female and one copepodid stage V. The mouthparts are raptorial with several reductions. The mandible has strongly developed gnathobasis and reduced or lacking endopod. The maxilla and maxilliped bear strong spines or long setae.

Evolutionary Origins: All genera of the family Epacteriscidae live in caves, but two species of Epacteriscus and Enantiosis are also recorded outside caves. The most primitive genus, Erebonectes, is recorded from remote parts of caves, while the most modified and reduced Epacteriscus is also encountered outside caves.

Conservation Status: Restricted to two anchialine caves in the Caicos Islands.


  • Fosshagen, A. and T.M. Iliffe. 1985. Two new genera of Calanoida and a new order of Copepoda, Platycopioida, from marine caves on Bermuda. Sarsia 70:345-358.
  • Fosshagen, A. and T.M. Iliffe. 1994. A new species of Erebonectes (Copepoda, Calanoida) from marine caves on Caicos Islands, West Indies. Hydrobiologia, 292/293:17-22, 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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