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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Chelicerata
Subclass Arachnida
Order Acarina
Family Halacaridae


Agauopsis bermudensis Bartsch & Iliffe, 1985


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Agauopsis bermudensis: dorsal & ventral views of idiosoma

Taxonomic Characterization: Female: Raised porose areolae on dorsal plates; outside these areas, surface of integument covered with many shallow pores. Ocular plates slightly pointed medially and distally. Two corneae on ocular field. Integument of epimeral plates with shallow pores and groups of deeper, canalicular ones. Gnathosoma small. First leg strong, with characteristic stout spines. On the following legs on telofemora and on genua, no stout spines present. Lateral claws on tarsus I small, smooth, neither comb nor accessory tooth seen. Lateral claws on the following legs longer than on leg I, provided with a comb with fine teeth. Medial claw on leg I strong, bidentate. Medial claws on the following legs without dents, only basal portion of claw present. Male: Similar to female except for the genital region. Genital opening large. Distance to anterior margin of genitoanal plate hardly larger than length of GO. Perigenital setae arranged in a dense ring around the GO, 2 additional setae in the anterior portion of the GA (Bartsch & Iliffe, 1985).

Disposition of Specimens: Holotype deposited in the Zoologisches Institut und Zoologisches Museum, Hamburg, FRG.

Ecological Classification: Either stygophilic or accidental.

Size: Female idiosoma = 442 microns long by 285 microns wide, Male idiosoma = 440 microns long

Number of Species in Genus: At least 9

Species Range: Known from Green Bay Cave and Grenadier Pool in Hamilton Parish, Bermuda.

Closest Related Species: Agauopsis bermudensis resembles A. ornata, a species found off Bermuda and Cape Verde Islands, in the Caribbean regions and the Galapagos Islands. A. bermudensis is easily distinguishable from A. ornata by the larger size of the idiosome, the outline of the porose areolae on both dorsal and ventral plates, the large GO in males, and the lack of cuticular spines or lamellae on the legs (Bartsch & Iliffe, 1985).

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: Collected from bottom silt in caves at 6-14 m depths.

Life History: Collected specimens included 1 female and 1 male.

Evolutionary Origins: Agauopsis bermudensis has large corneae and brown eye pigment. Similar shape of the idiosoma, elaborate lamellae, as well as large corneae usually are found in species inhabiting the littoral zone. Thus, this species is likely swept into caves by tidal currents (Bartsch & Iliffe, 1985). More thorough collections, both inside and outside of caves, are needed to determine the distribution of A. bermudensis and if it can complete its life cycle inside of caves.

Conservation Status: So far as is known, restricted to two caves in Hamilton Parish, Bermuda.

References:

  • Bartsch, I. and T.M. Iliffe. 1985. The halacarid fauna (Halacaridae, Acari) of Bermuda's Caves. Stygologia, 1(3):301-321, 55 figures.

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