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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Malacostraca
Order Nebaliacea
Family Nebaliidae

Speonebalia cannoni Bowman, Yager & Iliffe, 1995

Taxonomic Characterization:
Blind, unpigmented. Characterized by small rostrum, eyestalks without visual elements, mandible without incisor, maxilla 2 with very small exopod and undivided endopod, and broad caudal ramus with densely setose margins.

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Length of anterior end of rostrum to posterior end of caudal ramus: 8-11 mm

Number of Species in Genus: One

Genus Range:

  • Caicos Islands:
    • Providenciales Island: Speonebalia cannoni Bowman, Yager & Iliffe, 1995
      • Airport Cave and The Hole
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Speonebalia: genus range

Species Range: Found only in two caves, Airport Cave and The Hole, Providenciales Island, Caicos Islands

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: Collected from under a ledge in a dimly illuminated portion of the entrance lake in The Hole. All specimens were found free-swimming in the brackish (salinity 19.1-28 ppt) water column at depths of 5-10 m. Live in muddy environments, often where organic matter is abundant and it is assumed that they are detritivores or scavengers on dead animal matter. The dense row of long setae along the medial margin presumably resists sinking and suggests a pelagic rather than benthic life.

Life History: The females carry eggs in the cavity under the carapace and development is direct.

Conservation Status: Restricted to two anchialine limestone caves on Providenciales Island


  • Bowman, T.E., J. Yager and T.M. Iliffe. 1985. Speonebalia cannoni, n. gen., n. sp., from the Caicos Islands, the first hypogean leptostracan (Nebaliacea: Nebaliidae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 98(2): 439-446, 3 figures, 1 table.

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