Fosshagenia ferrarii Suárez-Morales & Iliffe, 1996
Taxonomic Characterization: It is the only known species within the superfamily Fosshagenioidea. It is distinguished by the presence of lateral processes on the genital double-somite of the female and the first urosomal somite of the male. The superfamily, family, genus, and species have the following characteristics:
Fosshagenia ferrarii: dorsal view, after Suárez-Morales & Iliffe, 1996
Ecological Classification: Stygobitic
Size: Adult females' length range from 0.60 to 0.70 mm. The adult male's length range from 0.687 to 0.705 mm. It is the smallest recorded anchialine calanoid species.
Number of Species in Genus: One
Species Range: Known only from Conch Bar Cave, Middle Caicos Island, Turks and Caicos Islands.
Closest Related Species: It is the only known species within the superfamily Fosshagenioidea. The fosshagenioids may be closely related to the brackish-water dwelling species of the superfamily Centropagoidea, which is composed of only brackish and freshwater-dwelling species.
Habitat: Anchialine limestone cave
Ecology: They were free-swimming, at a depth of 0-0.5 m in brackish waters (23 g/l). Generally, the depth of the water in the Conch Bar Cave ranged from 0.5 to 1 m. Brown organic-rich silt lined the bottom of the pools. Morphological characteristics of F. ferrarii's mouthparts indicate it is a predator in the water column. This is dissimilar to other anchialine copepods, which are usually bottom-dwellers.
Life History: 19 adult females and 6 males, but no copepodids were collected.
Evolutionary Origins: Fosshagenoids are regarded as less primitive anchialine copepods, more closely related to brackish water forms than to other anchialine groups.
Conservation Status: Restricted to a single cave on Middle Caicos Island.
Contributor: Eduardo Suárez-Morales, Colegio de la Frontera Sur (ECOSUR), Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico
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