Yucatalana robustispina Botosaneanu & Iliffe, 1999
Yucatalana robustispina: after Botosaneanu & Iliffe, in prep.
Taxonomic Characterization: A very small stygobitic cirolanid isopod without eyes and pigment, not able to roll into a ball.
Cephalon with round lateral bulges (possibly indicating where the lost eyes were located) and with a rather large triangular rostrum.
Five well developed pleonites. Telson subtrapezoidal, with sinuous lateral margins and distal margin only with a few very short setae.
Short and subequal antennulae and antennae with pauci-articulate flagelli. Mandibles: acies with strong "teeth" "plump lobe" armed with
quite a few short points distant from the margin. Only pereiopod I raptorial, with very large spines with particular structure
(articulate-like in their distal half); on propodus (2), carpus (1) and merus (1), and with long unguis finishing in a hook; pereiopods
II-VII ambulatory, all similar (very slender), although progressively longer. Appendix masculina subbasally inserted, with capitate apex
preceded by short row of minute "teeth" (Botosaneanu & Iliffe, 1999).
Ecological Classification: Stygobitic
Size: Body length - males 3 mm, females 3.5-4 mm.
Number of Species in Genus: One
Species Range: Originally described from Cenote Pabakal and Cenote Kankirixche in the state of Yucatan
(Botosaneanu & Iliffe, 1999). Later reported from Cenote Kakuel and Cenote
Chuih-Hol (Botosaneanu & Iliffe, in prep.)
Closest Related Species: No close relationship with any other Cirolanidae.
Habitat: Freshwater limestone caves
Ecology: Specimens were collected by divers with a plankton net from the water column at 20-33 m depth in Cenote Papakal and individually in vials from the water column at 20-50 m depth in Cenote Kankirixche (Botosaneanu & Iliffe, 1999).
Life History: Collected specimens include 5 males, 4 females 1 manca and 1 exuvium.
Evolutionary Origins: Due to the enigmatic affinities of this genus, its origins are unclear, but like most other stygobitic fauna from Yucatan, it is probably derived from a marine ancestor.
Conservation Status: Restricted to four caves in the state of Yucatan.
Contributor: Lazare Botosaneanu, University of Amsterdam, The Netherlands
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