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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Copepoda
Order Cyclopoida
Family Cyclopidae

Prehendocyclops boxshalli Rocha, 2000

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Prehendocyclops boxshalli: after Rocha et al., 2000

Taxonomic Characterization: Characteristic of the genera Prehendocyclops is an antennal prehensile device formed by a stout curved spine on the third segment, and the three proximalmost appendages of the terminal segment modified into stout, heavily serrate spines; the distalmost spine of these is claw-shaped. Additionally, on the praecoxal arthrite of the maxillule the two outermost apical spines are curved towards a strong, straight, pointed spine inserted on the inner surface of the arthrite. P. boxshalli differs from other species of Prehendocyclops in that the dorsal setae is 1/2 of the length of the outer middle apical seta. Other differences include number of integumental sensilla on the first urosomal somite, and the genital double somite in both sexes, shape and size of elements composing the prehensile device of the antenna; armament of labrum and mandible, ornamentation of some setae on the maxillular endopod; and in the structure of leg 5 in both sexes (Rocha et al., 2000).

Disposition of Specimens: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, catalog numbers USNM 287097-9, and Museu de Zoologia of the University of Sao Paula, catalog number MZUSP 13061.

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Female body length, excluding caudal setae, measures between 0.515-0.610 mm. Adult male length, excluding caudal setae, measures 0.5 mm.

Number of Species in Genus: Three

Genus Range:

Species Range: Known only from Grutas de Santa Maria, Homun; Grutas de Tzab-Nah, Tecoh; Cenote Kambul, Noc Ac, in the State of Yucatan, Mexico.

Closest Related Species: P. monchenkoi

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: Found free-swimming and at the sandy bottom of cave pools at depths of 0-15 m. Prehendocyclops has modified mouthparts and antenna like its sister genera Colpocyclops and Smirnoviella, which enable the genera to externally parasitize a host. Thus, Rocha et al. assumed that Prehendocyclops is probably also parasitic, although the possible host is unknown.

Life History: Not known. Only three females and one male have been collected.

Evolutionary Origins: Prehendocyclops and sister genera Smirnoviella and Colpocyclops, which evolved in estuaries connected to the Caspian and Black Sea, were linked in the past as part of the Tethys Sea. Considering that the three genera have similar mouthparts and antenna, they are probably derived from one or more ectoparasitic Halicyclops-like ancestral forms (Rocha et al., 2000).

Conservation Status: Restricted to three caves in the Yucatan Peninsula


  • Rocha, C.E.F., T.M. Iliffe, J.W. Reid, and E. Suarez-Morales. 2000. Prehendocyclops a new genus of the subfamily Halicyclopinae (Copepoda: Cyclopoida, Cyclopidae) from cenotes of the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Sarsia, 85:119-140, 57 figures, 2 tables.


Contributor: Carlos Eduardo F. da Rocha, Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil

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