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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Chelicerata
Subclass Arachnida
Order Acarina
Family Halacaridae

Agauopsis littoralis Bartsch & Iliffe, 1985


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Agauopsis littoralis: dorsal & ventral views of idiosoma

Taxonomic Characterization: Male: Anterodorsal plate (AD) with a small frontal spine. In posterior portion of AD elevated ridges, arranged like an "H". Within these ridges, deep canaliculi piercing the integumental layers. Outside the ridges, slight paneling and small pores present. Posterodorsal plate with 2 elevated, longitudinal ridges, converging posteriorly but not meeting. Dorsal setae minute. Red-brown pigment is found beneath the AD near the anterior spine and beneath the OC between the corneae. All ventral plates finely porose; when focused on deeper integumental layers, a reticulation is discernible. Genitoanal plate short. Genital opening in the middle of the plate. Distance from GO to anterior margin of GA equals length of GO. Integument on base of gnathosoma pierced by canaliculi. Rostrum as long as base of gnathosoma. Integument of legs pierced by canaliculi, these especially prominent on telofermora and tibiae. Leg I stronger than following legs. The lateral claws on tarsus I are smaller than those on the following legs. An accessory tooth is present, but no comb. Between the lateral claws, there is a stout bidentate median claw. The lateral claws on the following legs are slender, provided with long claw combs with many fine teeth. The median claw is only a small sclerite with no dents. Female: unknown (Bartsch & Iliffe, 1985).

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

Ecological Classification: Either stygophilic or accidental

Size: Male idiosoma = 335 microns long by 239 microns wide, Female unknown

Number of Species in Genus: At least 9

Species Range: Known from Walsingham Cave, Hamilton Parish, Bermuda.

Closest Related Species: Agauopsis littoralis belongs to the brevipalpus group and is most similar to A. brevipalpus, a widely distributed species reported from the northwest Atlantic. A unique character in A. littoralis is 3 spines on tibiae III and IV. More than 50 specimens of species in the brevipalpus group were examined, in none were the 3 spines found. Other distinguishing characteristics in A. littoralis include the smaller size of idiosoma and the smaller number of perigenital setae in the male (Bartsch & Iliffe, 1985).

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: Collected with suction bottle from entrance pool at 6-8 m depths.

Life History: Only 1 male specimen was found.

Evolutionary Origins: Agauopsis littoralis 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. littoralis and if it can complete its life cycle inside of caves.

Conservation Status: So far as is known, restricted to a single cave in 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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