Bahalana exumina Botosaneanu & Iliffe, 2002
Bahalana exumina: after Botosaneanu & Iliffe, 2003
Taxonomic Characterization: Completely depigmented, eyeless. A
fragile animal, some appendages easily coming off.
Cephalon very well
individualized, large first pereional segment is only very feebly built-in;
lateral and posterior margins gently rounded; anterior margins, converging
towards a short but distinct rostrum, may appear slightly sinuate. Lamina
frontalis narrow, elongate, ending in sharp point; clypeus with strongly obtuse
lateral ends laterally outrunning the labrum but not descending along its sides.
Pereionite I devoid of coxal plates; those of pereionites II-VII all very small,
in contrast with those well developed of pleonites I-V. Pleotelson roughly
square, lateral margins feebly rounded, posterior margin maybe very feebly
emarginate. Antennula reaching at least the limit between pleonites II and III;
2nd peduncular article shorter than 1st, 3rd
slightly longer than 1st and 2nd together, and with well
individualized apical zone; remarkably long flagellum has at least 50
articles. Antenna II reaching at least the end of pleon. Strong asymmetry of the
two acies of the
pereiopods I-III show numerous structural or allometric peculiarities
distinguishing them from those of already described species. The propodus of
PIII is distinctly shorter and narrower than that of PI or PII. The unguis of
all three is rudimentary, reduced to a minute, hyaline, indistinctly limited
cone. Internal margins of carpus, propodus, dactylus, as well as of several long
projections, are finely but distinctly crenelate. Uropods of about the same
length as the pleotelson (Botosaneanu & Iliffe, 2002).
Disposition of Specimens: Zoological Museum Amsterdam crustacean collection (Is. 205829).
Ecological Classification: Stygobitic
Size: Length of male holotype from tip of rostrum to middle of pleotelson is 7 mm.
Number of Species in Genus: Six, all stygobitic
Species Range: Known only from Oven Rock Cave in the Exuma Cays, Bahamas (Botosaneanu
& Iliffe, 2002).
Closest Related Species: Bahalana geracei and Bahalana cardiopus
Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves
Ecology: Collections from Oven Rock Cave were in the main passage just below the old bat roost at depth of 15 m in fully marine salinity waters (35 ppt). Other inhabitants of this cave include remipedes, copepods, hadziid amphipods, thermosbaenaceans, and the shrimp Barbouria cubensis (Botosaneanu & Iliffe, 2002).
Life History: Only a single, male specimen has been collected.
Evolutionary Origins: The family Cirolanidae is considered the most primitive of the families of the suborder Flabellifera. It is thought that stygobitic cirolanids were stranded when high sea levels receded, either during the Cenozoic Era (55 million years ago) or during the Late Cretaceous Period (135 million years ago) (Carpenter, 1981). All five species in the genus Bahalana are found in the Bahamas archipelago. Speciation in Bahalana was very probably a rather recent event.
Conservation Status: Restricted to a single anchialine cave in the Exuma
Contributor: Lazare Botosaneanu, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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