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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Ostracoda
Order Halocyprida
Family Thaumatocyprididae

Danielopolina exuma Kornicker & Iliffe, 1998

Taxonomic Characterization: (genus description). D. exuma can be distinguished from other Danielopolina species by the following characteristics:

  • The carapace is shorter than 1.0 mm and has surface reticulations.

  • Each lamella of furca has two articulated anterior claws and three short nonarticulated ventral claws.

  • Each valve has posterodorsal process.

  • The first antenna has a bristle on the second joint.


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Danielopolina exuma

Disposition of Specimens: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, catalog numbers USNM 194262-3, 194304-5, 194416-30, 194532.

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Adult females' lengths range between 0.53-0.55 mm without processes and the adult male is 0.51 mm long without processes.

Number of Species in Genus: Eleven (ten anchialine stygobitic, one deep sea)

  • Bahamas:
    • Exuma Cays: D. exuma Kornicker & Iliffe, 1998; D. kakuki Kornicker & Iliffe, 2000; and D. species A Kornicker & Iliffe, 1998
  • Canary Islands: D. wilkensi Hartmann, 1985; and D. phalanx Kornicker & Iliffe, 1995
  • Cuba: D. orghidani (Danielopol, 1972)
  • Galapagos Islands:
    • Santa Cruz Island: D. styx Kornicker & Iliffe, 1989
  • Jamaica: D. elizabethae Kornicker & Iliffe, 1992
  • Mid-Atlantic: D. carolynae Kornicker & Sohn, 1976
  • Western Australia: D. kornickeri Danielopol, Baltanas & Humphreys, 2000
  • Yucatan, Mexico: D. mexicana Kornicker & Iliffe, 1989

Species Range: Known only from Norman's Pond Cave, Norman's Pond Cay (type locality), and Oven Rock Cave (Kornicker & Iliffe, 2000), Great Guana Cay, Exuma Cays, Great Bahama Bank, Bahamas

Closest Related Species: D. orghidani from Cuba

Habitat: Anchialine limestone cave

Ecology: Fully marine salinity waters. Found free swimming in the water column at a depth of 10-35 m. Unidentified brown particles observed in gut.

Life History: D. exuma has five growth stages. The carapaces of all five stages are similar in distribution of processes and ornamentation. The lengths without processes of the four larval instars (I-IV) range from 0.27 to 0.44 mm. One adult specimen contained several unextruded eggs.

Evolutionary Origins: The family Thaumatocyprididae is composed of five genera. Two genera are known only from fossils, two inhabit the deep sea, and Danielopolina primarily inhabits anchialine environments. The evolutionary origins of stygobitic ostracodes remain undetermined. They may have originated from the deep sea (Iliffe 1990:95; 1991:227-228) or from shallow water crevices (Danielopol, 1990:141; Danielopol et al., 1996:82). These ostracodes may have been in shallow anchialine pools and then migrated to the more stable cave environment (Kornicker & Iliffe, 1998:2).

Conservation Status: Restricted to two caves in the Exuma Cays.


  • Danielopol, D.L. 1972. Sur la presence de Thaumatocypris orghidani n. sp. (Ostracoda, Myodocopida) dans une grotte de Cuba. Compte Rendu Hebdomadaire des Séances de l'Academie des Sciences (Paris), 274:1390-1393.
  • Danielopol, D.L. 1990. The origin of the anchialine cave fauna - the "deep sea" versus the "shallow water" hypothesis tested against the empirical evidence of the Thaumatocyprididae (Ostracoda). Bijdragen tot de Dierkunde, 60(3/4):137-143, figure 1.
  • Danielopol, D.L., A. Baltanas, and G. Bonaduce. 1996. The darkness syndrome in subsurface-shallow and deep-sea dwelling Ostracoda (Crustacea). In: F. Uiblein, J. Ott and M. Stachowitsch, editors, Deep-Sea and Extreme Shallow-Water Habitats: Affinities and Adaptations. Biosystematics and Ecology Series, 11:123-144. Vienna: Austrian Academy of Sciences.
  • Danielopol, D.L., A. Baltanas and W.F. Humphreys. 2000. Danielopolina kornickeri n.sp. (Ostracoda, Thaumatocyprididae) from a Western Australian anchialine cave: morphology and evolution. Zoologica Scripta, 29: 1-16.
  • Hartmann, G. 1985. Danielopolina wilkensi n. sp. (Halocyprida, Thaumatocyprididae), ein neuer Ostracode aus einem marinen Lava-Tunnel auf Lanzarote (Kanarische Inseln). Mitteilungen aus dem Hamburgischen Zoologischen Museum und Institut, 82:255-261, figures 1-7.
  • Iliffe, T.M. 1990. Crevicular dispersal of marine cave faunas. Memoires de Biospeologie, 17:93-96.
  • Iliffe, T.M. 1991. Anchialine fauna of the Galapagos Islands. In M.J. James, editor, Galapagos Marine Invertebrates. Pages 209-231, 8 figures, 1 table. New York: Plenum Press.
  • Kornicker, L.S. and T.M. Iliffe. 1989. New Ostracoda (Halocyprida: Thaumatocyprididae and Halocyprididae) from anchialine caves in the Bahamas, Palau and Mexico. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 470:1-47, 22 figures, 8 tables.
  • Kornicker, L.S. and T.M. Iliffe. 1992. Ostracoda (Halocyprida: Cladocopina) from an anchialine caves in Jamaica, West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 530:1-72, 11 figures, 1 table.
  • Kornicker, L.S. and T.M. Iliffe. 1995. Ostracoda (Halocyprida: Cladocopina) from an anchialine lava tube in Lanzarote, Canary Islands. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 568:1-32, 16 figures, 1 table.
  • Kornicker, L.S. and T.M. Iliffe. 1998. Myodocopid Ostracoda (Halocypridina, Cladocopina) from anchialine caves in the Bahamas, Canary Islands, and Mexico. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 599:1-93, 62 figures, 2 maps, 9 tables.
  • Kornicker, L.S. and T.M. Iliffe. 2000. Myodocopid Ostracoda from Exuma Sound, Bahamas, and from marine caves and Blue Holes in the Bahamas, Bermuda and Mexico. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 606:1-98, 56 figures, 2 maps, 9 tables.
  • Kornicker, L.S. and I.G. Sohn. 1976. Phylogeny, ontogeny, and morphology of living and fossil Thaumatocypridacea (Myodocopa: Ostracoda). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 219:1-124, 93 figures.

Contributor: Louis S. Kornicker, National Museum of Natural History, Washington, DC

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