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:
Ecological Classification: Stygobitic
Size: Adult female holotype length range from 0.74 mm.
Number of Species in Genus: One
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.
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