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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Copepoda
Order Misophrioida
Family Misophriidae

Protospeleophira lucayae Jaume, Boxshall & Iliffe, 1998

Taxonomic Characterization:
Protospeleophira lucayae is the only described species of this genus. The genus Protospeleophira is characterized by the lack of fusion between antennulary segments IX to XII and XV to XVI and by the maxillipedal armature (Jaume, Boxshall & Iliffe, 1998). This genus/species has the following characteristics:

  • The cephalosome is not produced posteriorly into a carapace-like extension.
  • The first pedigerous somite is free.
  • The female urosome has five segments. The genital and first abdominal somites fused to form genital double-somite.
  • The single copulatory pore opens ventrally.
  • The caudal rami are armed with seven setae.
  • The antennules have 25 segments. They have compound proximal (I-III) and apical (XXVII-XXVIII) segments.
  • The proximal segment is slightly swollen dorsolaterally, with elongate aesthetascs on segments 1 (III) and 5 (VII).
  • The maxillulary basal exite is absent.
  • The Allobasis of maxilla has armature formula [5,3].
  • The maxilliped syncoxa has a praecoxal seta, which is a single seta. The endopod has six segments and the setal formula is [1,3,3,2,2+1,5].

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Adult female holotype length range from 0.74 mm.

Number of Species in Genus: One

Genus Range:

  • Bahamas:
    • Exuma Cays: Protospeleophira lucayae Jaume, Boxshall, & Iliffe, 1998

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Species Range: Known only from Norman's Pond Cave, Norman's Pond Cay, Exuma Cays, Great Bahama Bank, Bahamas

Closest Related Species: It is the only species within the genus. Protospeleophira is very closely related to three other genera - Speleophria, Speleophriopsis, and Huysia. The most closely related genus/species is Huysia bahamensis Jaume, Boxshall, & Iliffe, 1998. It was also discovered in Norman's Pond Cave and was described with P. lucayae.

Habitat: Anchialine limestone cave

Ecology: Fully marine salinity waters (35-37 g/l). Found free swimming in the water column at a depth of 10-25 m.

Life History: Not known.

Evolutionary Origins: Misophrioid copepods are believed to be composed of two ancestral lineages - Archimisophria and Misophira (Boxshall, 1989). The taxonomic characteristics of the loss of the aesthetasc from the ancestral antennulary segment XVIII and the loss of one inner seta from the second endopodal segment of leg one indicates that P. lucayae is of the Archimisophria-lineage.

Conservation Status: Restricted to a single cave in the Exuma Cays.


  • Boxshall, G.A. 1989. Colonization of inland marine caves by misophrioid copepods. Journal of Zoology, 219:521-526.
  • Jaume, D., G.A. Boxshall and T.M. Iliffe, 1998. Two new genera of misophrioid copepods (Crustacea) from an anchihaline cave in the Bahamas. Journal of Natural History, 32:661-681, 11 figures, 1 table.



  • Damiŕ Jaume, Instituto Mediterráneo de Estudios Avanzados (CSIC-UIB), Palma de Mallorca, Spain
  • Geoff Boxshall, Department of Zoology, The Natural History Museum, London, United Kingdom

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