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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Malacostraca
Order Mysidacea
Family Stygiomysidae

Stygiomysis holthuisi (Gordon, 1958)

Taxonomic Characterization:
The genus Stygiomysis includes blind, stygobitic mysids characterized by a rather vermiform body, a reduced carapace, endopods of thoracopods 2-4 prehensile, and protopod of uropod produced into a long distomedial process. Stygiomysis females have four pairs of developing oostegites, a number unique among the Mysidacea.

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Up to 10 mm in length.

Number of Species in Genus: Six described species, all anchialine stygobitic

Genus Range:

  • Anguilla: S. holthuisi (Gordon, 1958)
      • Salt Well and the Fountain, reported in Botosaneanu, 1980
  • Bahamas:
    • Grand Bahama Island: S. holthuisi (Gordon, 1958)
      • Lucayan Caverns, reported Bowman, Iliffe, and Yager, 1984
  • Caicos Islands:
    • Middle Caicos Island: S. clarkei Bowman, Iliffe, & Yager, 1984
      • Conch Bar Cave, reported in Bowman, Iliffe, and Yager, 1984
    • Providenciales Island: S. clarkei Bowman, Iliffe, & Yager, 1984
      • Snake Cave, reported in Bowman, Iliffe, and Yager, 1984
  • Dominican Republic: S. aemete Wagner 1992
      • Well about 5 km east of the Haitian border in the Pedernales Province
  • Southern Italy: S. hydruntina Caroli, 1937
      • Buco dei Diavoli, L'Abisso, reported in Caroli, 1937
  • Jamaica: S. major Bowman, 1976
      • Jackson Bay Cave
  • Mexico:
    • Yucatan Peninsula: S. cokei Kallmeyer & Carpenter, 1996 and S. holthuisi (Gordon, 1958)
      • Temple of Doom, Mayan Blue, Carwash and Naharon Caves, reported in Kallmeyer & Carpenter, 1996 for S. cokei; Cenote Pabakal, Cenote San Eduardo, Cenote Kankirixche, and Cenote Dzonot-ila in Yucatan, and Actun Ko in Quintana Roo, reported in Pesce & Iliffe, 2002.
      • Mayan Blue and Casa Cenote in Quintana Roo and Cenote Mucuyché in Yucatan, reported in Pesce & Iliffe, 2002 for S. holthuisi
  • Puerto Rico: S. holthuisi (Gordon, 1958)
      • Cueva de los Murcelagos, Guanica Fores (Bowman, 1976)
  • St. Martin: S. holthuisi (Gordon, 1958)
      • Devil's Hole, reported in Gordon, 1960
  • United States:
    • Florida: S. sp. Bowman, in litt.

Species Range: Grand Bahama Island, Bahamas (Lucayan Caverns), Puerto Rico (Cueva de los Murcelagos, Guanica Fores), Anguilla (Salt Well, The Fountain), St. Martin (Devil's Hole) and Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico (Mayan Blue, Casa Cenote and Cenote Mucuyché).

Closest Related Species:

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: This species was observed crawling on a rock at a depth of 4 m in a freshwater passage.

Evolutionary Origins: According to Pesce (Groundwater Mysids of Italy), "The remarkable distribution of Stygiomysis undoubtedly points to a Tethyan origin, all the species of this genus being actually known from the Caribbean area and South Italy."

Conservation Status: Restricted to anchialine caves


  • Botosaneanu, L. 1980. Stygiomysis holthuisi found on Anguilla (Crustacea, Mysidacea). Studies on the fauna of Curacao and other Caribbean Islands, 61(190):128-132.
  • Bowman, T.E. 1976. Stygiomysis major, a new troglobitic mysid from Jamaica, and an entension of the range of S. holthuisi to Puerto Rico (Crustacea: Mysidacea: Stygiomysidae). International Journal of Speleology, 8:365-373.
  • Bowman, T.E. 1986. Mysidacea. In: Lazare Botosaneanu, editor, Stygofauna Mundi: A Faunistic, Distributional, and Ecological Synthesis of the World Fauna inhabiting Subterranean Waters. Pages 405-409. Leiden: E.J. Brill/Dr. W. Backhuys.
  • Bowman, T.E., T.M. Iliffe, and J. Yager. 1984. New records of the troglobitic mysid genus Stygiomysis: S. clarkei, new species, from the Caicos Islands, and S. holthuisi (Gordon) from Grand Bahama Island (Crustacea: Mysidacea). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 97(3):637-644, 4 figures.
  • Gordon, I. 1958. A new subterranean crustacean from the West Indies. Nature, 181:1552-1553.
  • Gordon, Isabella. 1960. On Stygiomysis from the West Indies, with a note on Spelaeogriphus (Crustacea, Peracarida). Bulletin of the British Museum (Natural History), Zoology, 6(5):285-324.
  • Pesce, G.L. and T.M. Iliffe. 2002. New records of cave-dwelling mysids from the Bahamas and Mexico with description of Palaumysis bahamensis n. sp. (Crustacea: Mysidacea). Journal of Natural History, 36(3):265-278, 21 figures.
  • Pesce, G.L., L. Juberthie-Jupeau and F. Passelaigue. 1994. Mysidacea. Encyclopaedia Biospeologica. Societè de Biospéologie, Moulis, Bucarest: 113-119, 4 figures.


Contributor: Giuseppe L. Pesce, University of L'Aquila, Italy

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