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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Malacostraca
Order Mysidacea
Family Mysidae

Bermudamysis speluncola Bacescu & Iliffe, 1986

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Bermudamysis speluncola

Taxonomic Characterization: The integument of Bermudamysis speluncola is slightly transparent with an intense red tint. The eyes are short and cylindrical with the visible part being golden-brown and having a reduced brown section that is possibly the screening pigment. The 1st antenna has more than 15 fine, closely gathered setae and a long flagellum. The labrum is slightly triangular; the mandible has a 3-segmented long palp and the maxillule has 12 spines on the distal article of the palp. Pereiopods IV-V are very elongate with thin articles and a 4-segmented tarsus; the 1st pereiopods are shorter and thicker with a 3-segmented tarsus. The pleopods show no dimorphism and the uropods have a slightly shorter endopodite, a small statolith and no spine. The telson has 5-6 spines only on the distal half and has a deep sinus bordered by long apical spines and 6-7 lamina. The female is slightly larger than the male and has only 1 pair of oostegites, 2 or 4 genital produces and a shorter flagellum on the 2nd antenna. The males are distinguished by a white shining cylindrical penis with the fascicles visible of spermatozoa (Bacescu & Iliffe, 1986).

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Adult males and females range in size from 2.3-3.0 mm.

Number of Species in Genus: One

Species Range: Known from Green Bay, Castle Grotto, Cherry Pit, Palm, Walsingham, Leamington and Grenadier Pool Caves, Bermuda (Bacescu & Iliffe, 1986).

Closest Related Species: Bermudamysis possesses pereiopods much like those of the genus Erythrops and a telson shape similar to that of Anisomysis. The similarity of pleopods in both sexes is reminiscent of Platymysis.

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: B. speluncola is the most widely distributed mysid in Bermuda caves. It is epibenthic and is always found in close proximity to the surface of silty sediments and in portions of caves having a more direct water exchange with the open sea. The supple body of Bermudamysis and the large numbers collected indicate a free life and an agglomeration of its population in swarms. Specimens were collected using a fine mesh hand net, SCUBA with a suction bottle and on one occasion by a plastic bottle trap baited with squid, at depths from 0.5-16 m (Bacescu & Iliffe, 1986).

Life History: More than 287 specimens were collected which included approximately equal numbers of adult males and females plus juveniles. Nine of the collected females were ovigerous.

Conservation Status: B. speluncola is listed as critically endangered (IUCN, 2000). The species is known from several anchialine caves in Bermuda.


  • Bacescu, M. and T.M. Iliffe. 1986. Bermudamysis g. n., Platyops g. n. and other mysids from Bermudian caves. Stygologia, 2(1/2): 93-104.
  • IUCN, 2000. The 2000 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Gland, IUCN, 61 pages.


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