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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Order Isopoda
Suborder Flabellifera
Family Cirolanidae

Exumalana reptans Botosaneanu & Iliffe, 2003

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Exumalana reptans


Taxonomic Characterization: A small, entirely depigmented, anophthalmous cirolanid, able to a limited extent to roll its body. Cephalon transversely oval. Pleon short, from 5 distinct segments. Pleotelson large, almost semicircular in outline, very strongly vaulted, only with minute setulae on distal margin. AI and AII short, AII slightly shorter that AI, peduncle of both AI and AII from 4 articles. Pereiopods I and II similarly prehensile (without exceedingly strong propodi), in strong contrast with ambulatory pereiopods III-VII which are basically similar; unguis of all pereiopods with a pair of secondary unguis. All pleopods with protopodites transversely elongate; only endopodites I and II (very scarcely) setose; exopodites III-V entirely bipartite, setation of endopodites IV and V very scarce. Uropods very characteristically built, completely ankylosed; shorter than pleotelson, almost entirely concealed under its vault; basipodite very thick-set, very scarcely armed; exopodite small, oval; endopodite much larger - only slightly shorter than basipodite -, nearly round; marginal armament of exo- and endopodite characteristic, strongly asymmetric (Botosaneanu & Iliffe, 2003).

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Exumalana reptans showing limited capacity to roll body

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Fully extended, female holotype is 6.2 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: The combination of numerous characters, especially concerning the antennae, pereiopods, pleopods and tail-fan, is evidence for a well defined genus of obscure affinities.  It seems improbable that kinship will be found with any marine, non-troglomorphic genus.

Habitat: Anchialine limestone cave

Ecology: The single specimen was collected from a rock wall in 8 m depth where it was moving in and out of small holes in the bedrock.  This behavior is in contrast with most other Bahamian cave isopods which are found either were free-swimming in the water column or skimming across the bottom sediments. Although this cave has been visited numerous times over the past decade, only one specimen has even been observed or collected.

Life History: Only a single female specimen has been collected. The male of this species remains unknown.

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


  • Botosaneanu, L. and T.M. Iliffe. 2003. A new genus of stygobitic/troglomorphic cirolanid (Isopoda: Cirolanidae) from a "blue hole" cave in the Bahamas. Bulletin de L'Institute Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique, Biologie, 73:81-90, 25 figures.


Contributor: Lazare Botosaneanu, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands

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