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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Subclass Ostracoda
Order Podocopida
Family Paracyprididae
Subfamily Thalassocypridinae

Dolerocypria bifurca Maddocks, 1986

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Dolerocypria bifurca: right and left valve exteriors of male

Taxonomic Characterization: Dolerocypria bifurca has a very thin-walled carapace which is compressed, fragile, and translucent white showing reddish-brown epidermis and a conspicuous eye underneath. This species has broad open vestibules with no radial pore canals visible. The ovaries and testes are housed between valve lamellae in the posterior, with the testes extending forward to another coil in the anterior vestibule as well. The antennae have five swimming setae and the palp of the male fifth limb has two grotesquely elongated, flattened, stiff, ribbon-like setae that arise ventrally and proximally near its base. They are probably homologous with the "pegs" and "small setae" that occur on the ventrodistal edge of the basal in other marine Cypridacea. The distal hook is plump, lobate, terminated by large, possibly sensory seta that are moderately asymmetrical. The furca has two stout pectinate claws and a tiny anterodistal seta. The hemipenis is roughly oblong, sinuous and lobate in outline. Zenker's organ is small with five chitinous rosettes (Maddocks & Iliffe, 1986).

Disposition of Specimens: All specimens were deposited in the United States Museum of Natural History: male holotype (USNM 216452) and paratypes (USNM 216453-216455).

Ecological Classification: Either stygophilic or accidental

Size: Length of right valve 0.32 mm.

Number of Species in Genus: At least 6

Species Range: Known from Green Bay, Deep Blue, and Walsingham Caves, Bermuda (Maddocks & Iliffe, 1986).

Closest Related Species: Dolerocypria bifurca is similar to D. taalensis from the Philippines. However, the later species has a slightly more acute posterior end, a larger comb on the pectinate seta of the seventh limb with longer, more sharply tapering barbs, and a fourth, very tiny, dorsal seta on the furca. Another similar species, D. fastigata found in the Florida Everglades differs in that it is much more elongate posteriorly with a more stretched-out adductor muscle-scar pattern. D. bifurca differs from D. inopinata as this species is nearly ovate, less elongate, with two small ventral setae on the palp of the male fifth limb (Maddocks & Iliffe, 1986).

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: D. bifurca was separated from algae at 1-2 m water depths of the cave entrance pools, collected with a long-handled fine-mesh dip net from open water and from algal covered rocks in 0-2 m water depths, and collected in 16 m open water depths using a fine-mesh hand net. The occurrence of D. bifurca in a plankton tow in Green Bay Cave suggests good swimming ability, even though the so-called "swimming setae" are reduced. It has not yet been found in sediment samples outside of caves, perhaps because it is rather small and fragile (Maddocks & Iliffe, 1986).

Life History: Collected specimens included 2 males, 1 female and 3 juveniles.

Evolutionary Origins: D. bifurca may be related to species described from mangrove swamps and coastal lagoons of Florida and the Netherlands West Indies (Maddocks & Iliffe, 1986).


  • Maddocks, R.F. and T.M. Iliffe. 1986. Podocopid Ostracoda of Bermudian caves. Stygologia, 2: 26-76, 18 figures.


Contributor: Dr. Rosalie F. Maddocks, University of Houston, Houston, Texas USA

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