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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Eumalacostraca
Order Isopoda
Family Paranthuridae

Curassanthura bermudensis Wägele & Brandt, 1985



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Curassanthura bermudensis: lateral & dorsal view, after Wägele & Brandt, 1985

Taxonomic Characterization: Curassanthura bermudensis is a blind, unpigmented paranthurid. The body is 13 times longer than wide. The cephalothorax is longer than wide, with a pronounced rostral point. The mouthparts are of the stinging/sucking type, covered dorsally by the labrum. The palp of the mandible is 3-segmented. Maxilla 1 is lanceolate. The basipodite of the maxillipod is slender. The pereopods are very slender, with only the proximally broadening propodus of pereopod stout. The propodal palm of subchelate pereopod is convex. The carpus of pereopod 2 and 3 is small, and triangular is the lateral view, while the carpus of pereopod 4-6 is long cylindrical, longer than merus. The carpi each have 1 sensory spine, basipodites with 3 long scolopidial feather-like setae. Each dactylus bears a claw with 3 notches. Pereopod 7 is not well developed. Palp 1 is operculiform. The endopodite of the uropod is considerably shorter than the sympodite, with the apex rounded, bearing 2 long feather-like and 7 simple setae. The telson is proximally widest, tapering to a narrow apex. The single proximomedial statocyst is very large with the telsonic apex containing 4 pairs of setae (Wägele & Brandt, 1985).

Disposition of Specimens: Specimens are located in the Zoological Museum of Amsterdam, immature adult holotype (ZMA Is. 105.284).

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Total body length of specimen is 3 mm.

Number of Species in Genus: Three, all stygobitic

Genus Range:

  • Bermuda: C. bermudensis Wägele & Brandt, 1985
  • Canary Islands: C. canariensis Wägele, 1985
  • Curaçao: C. halma Kensley, 1981

Species Range: Known only from Church Cave in Bermuda.

Closest Related Species: Curassanthura bermudensis differs from C. halma in having a more slender antennae 1, and the first peduncular article has 4 feather-like setae, instead of none.

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: C. bermudensis was collected from Church Cave in Bermuda, washed from coarse sediments on the shore of the large cave pool in a collapse cave (semi-dark), clean with some wood debris, salinity (surface) 15.54 ppt. This cave is isolated from the sea with a very slow replacement time.

Life History: One immature adult was collected.

Evolutionary Origins: Curassanthura is a strictly stygobiont genus of marine paranthurid ancestors, with no relatives in the deep sea. Its natural active dispersion is only conceivable by using "land bridges" between islands; to postulate the very improbable accidental passive dispersion is not satisfactory, especially when dealing with cave animals.

Conservation Status: This species is listed as critically endangered (IUCN, 1996).

References:

  • IUCN, 1996. The 1996 IUCN Red List of Threatened Animals. Gland, IUCN, 368 pages.
  • Wägele J.W., 1985. On the tethyan origin of the stygobiont Anthuridea Curassanthura and Cyathura (Stygocyathura), with description of Curassanthura canariensis n.sp. from Lanzarote (Crustacea,Isopoda). Stygologia 1(3):258-269
  • Wägele, J.W. and A. Brandt, 1985. New West Atlantic localities for the stygobiont paranthurid Curassanthura (Crustacea, Isopoda, Anthuridea) with description of C. bermudensis n. sp. Bijdragen tot de Dierkunde, 55(2):324-330, 4 figures.

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