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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Chelicerata
Subclass Arachnida
Order Acarina
Family Halacaridae

Copidognathus bermudensis Bartsch & Iliffe, 1985


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Copidognathus bermudensis: dorsal & ventral views of idiosoma

Taxonomic Characterization: Female: Idiosoma slender. Dorsal plates coarsely sculptured with large, shallow pores and rosette pores within raised areas. Rosette pores with large ostiae and alveoli and delicate canaliculi. Ocular plates large, wide in their anterior ends, ending bluntly at level of leg III. Two large corneae in anterior portion of the plate; medial to the corneae. Beneath this area, there is brown pigment. Posterodorsal plate slender. On ventral plates, marginally coarse pores and areolae with rosette pores; ventrally, integument finely porose with delicate canaliculi. Pores of Claparede organ circular. Ventral setae long, slender. Genital opening large; distance to anterior margin of genitoanal plate slightly less than length of GO. Gnathosoma slender. Rostrum evidently longer than base of gnathosoma, reaching beyond second palpal segment. Palps slender. Legs long. All telofemora markedly sculptured with coarse pores. Male: similar to female except for the genital region. GO smaller than in the female. Distance to anterior margin of GA longer than length of GO. In the only male available, 23 perigenital setae arranged ring-like around the GO. Four pairs of subgenital setae standing on the genital sclerites near the genital slit (Bartsch & Iliffe, 1985).

Disposition of Specimens: Holotype deposited in the Zo÷logisches Institut und Zo÷logisches Museum, Hamburg, FRG.

Ecological Classification: Either stygophilic or accidental

Size: Female idiosoma = 306 microns long by 171 microns wide

Number of Species in Genus: At least 12.

Species Range: Known from Green Bay and Walsingham Caves, Hamilton Parish, Bermuda.

Closest Related Species: Copidognathus bermudensis resembles C. floridensis from Florida, but differs from the latter by: more slender idiosoma; lamellar processes at distal margin of AD; narrow but prominently raised costae on PD; second pair of perigenital setae in female inserted near the lateral margin of GA. A similar arrangement of the perigenital setae in females is known from C. peregrinus, a species related to C. floridensis. But C. peregrinus is not as slender as C. bermudensis; the lamellar processes at distal margin of AD are lacking; the costae on PD are wider, but less raised; the telofemora are shorter than in C. bermudensis. Another similar species, C. hartwigi, is found in Bermudian waters. However, this species does not have lamellar processes on the posterior margin of the AD; the second pair of dorsal setae insert within the striated integument between AD and OC, among other differences (Bartsch & Iliffe, 1985).

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: Collected from 6-8 m depths in the entrance pool of Walsingham Cave and from hydroids on a guideline left in the Rat Trap of Green Bay Cave.

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

Evolutionary Origins: Copidognathus 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 C. bermudensis and if it can complete its life cycle inside of caves.

Conservation Status: So far as is known, restricted to only two caves 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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