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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Ostracoda
Order Halocyprida
Family Thaumatocyprididae

Danielopolina mexicana Kornicker & Iliffe, 1989

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Danielopolina mexicana: after Kornicker & Iliffe, 1989

Taxonomic Characterization: Carapace with abundant surface spines. The furca of the holotype bears 2 anterior claws on each lamella followed by 5 short ventral claws fused to the lamella. It lacks a short posteriorly oriented process (Kornicker & Iliffe, 1989).

Disposition of Specimens: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, catalog numbers 193312-3, 194301-3, 194330, 194501 USNM .

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Averate female carapace length is 0.81 mm.

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

Genus Range:

  • Bahamas:
    • Eleuthera: D. bahamensis Kornicker & Iliffe, 1989
    • 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 Cenote Mayan Blue (type locality), Cenote Ponderosa (Kornicker & Iliffe, 2000), Cenote 27 Steps (Kornicker & Iliffe, 2000), Quintana Roo, Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico .

Closest Related Species: D. mexicana differs from previously described species of the genus in having a carapace with abundant surface spines.

Habitat: Anchialine limestone cave

Ecology: Collected at a depth of 16 m near the halocline with a salinity range of 30-35 ppt. Additional fauna include thermosbaenaceans, amphipods, copepods, mysids, shrimp, and cirolanid isopods.

Life History: Only instars I and II, an A-1 female, and several adult female specimens have been collected. One large unextruded egg was found in an adult specimen (Kornicker & Iliffe, 1998). Within the gut of another adult specimen, 2 pellets were found containing copepod appendages (Kornicker & Iliffe, 1989).

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 caves in the Quintana Roo, Mexico


  • Danielopol, D.L. 1972. Sur la presence de Thaumatocypris orghidani n. sp. (Ostracoda, Myodocopida) dans une grotte de Cuba. Compte Rendu Hebdomadaire des Sťances 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 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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