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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Ostracoda
Order Halocyprida
Family Halocyprididae

Spelaeoecia barri Kornicker & Barr, 1997

Taxonomic Characterization: The carapace is elongate. The dorsal margin is straight and the ventral margin is broadly rounded. The anterior incisur is dorsal to midheight. When viewed from the inside, the anterior of the valve's edge is indented at the incisor. The anterior part of the rostrum broadly overreaches the edge of the valve and it has a tapered tip. In the lateral view, the posterodorsal corner of each valve is broadly rounded with considerable posterior projection. The dorsal edge of the left valve has a minute triangular process with small terminal indentation. The corner of the right valve has minute indentation, with a small bristle on the anterior end, posterior to glandular openings. S. barri can be distinguished from other Spelaeoecia species by the following characteristics:

  • Carapace shorter than 1.95 mm and covered with pits.
  • Each lamella of furca with 8 claws.

Disposition of Specimens: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, catalog numbers USNM 19387, 194323-4, 194389-194401.

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Adult females' carapace length range from 1.17 to 1.32 mm. Adult males' carapace length range from 1.17 to 1.24 mm.

Number of Species in Genus: Ten, all from anchialine caves.

Genus Range:

  • Bahamas:
    • Exuma Cays: S. capax Kornicker, 1990 and S. styx Kornicker, 1990 as reported by Kornicker & Iliffe, 1998, 2000
    • Grand Bahama Island: S. sagax Kornicker, 1990; S. parkeri Kornicker & Iliffe, 2002
    • Long Island: S. capax Kornicker, 1990
    • South Andros Island: S. styx Kornicker, 1990
    • San Salvador: S. barri Kornicker & Barr, 1997
  • Bermuda: S. bermudensis Angel & Iliffe, 1987
  • Cuba:
    • S. cubensis Kornicker & Yager, 1996
    • S. saturno Kornicker & Yager, 2002
  • Jamaica: S. jamaicensis Kornicker & Iliffe, 1992
  • Yucatan, Mexico: S. mayan Kornicker & Iliffe, 1998
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Spelaeoecia: genus range

Species Range: Known only from the Lighthouse Cave, San Salvador, Bahamas

Closest Related Species: S. sagax from Grand Bahama Island

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: Lighthouse Cave's water-filled passages are up to 2 meters in depth and the water is fully marine (35 ppt). S. barri dwells within a rich organic flocculent layer, composed of bat guano and allocthonous material, that is up to one foot in depth and covers the cave's floor. Other species found in Lighthouse Cave includes several sponges, isopods, copepods, the shrimp Barbouria cubensis, crabs, bats, cockroaches and pseudoscorpions. Gut fragments of a S. barri specimen may have been the remnants of crustaceans.

Life History: This genus is believed to have seven stages. Of the six juvenile stages, instars III-VI probably have been identified. The length of the instar's carapace ranges from 0.55 to 1.06 mm. The average growth factor is 1.22. Females are larger than and may outnumber males.

Evolutionary Origins: 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 (Iliffe in Kornicker and Iliffe, 1998:2). The genera Deeveya Kornicker & Iliffe, 1985 and Spelaeoecia Angel & Iliffe, 1987 comprise the subfamily Deeveyinae Kornicker & Iliffe, 1985. The distribution of this subfamily is restricted to the Caribbean, West Indies, Bermuda, and Yucatan Peninsula.

Conservation Status: Restricted to a single cave


  • Angel, M.V. and T.M. Iliffe. 1987. Spelaeoecia bermudensis new genus, new species, a halocyprid ostracod form marine caves in Bermuda. Journal of Crustacean Biology, 7:541-553, 7 figures, 3 tables.
  • 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.
  • 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. New York: Plenum Press.
  • Kornicker, L.S. and D.J. Barr. 1997. Anchialine Ostracoda (Halocypridinae) from San Salvador, Bahamas. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 588:1-20, 11 figures, 2 tables.
  • Kornicker, L.S. and T.M. Iliffe. 1992. Ostracoda (Halocypridina, Cladocopina) from anchialine caves in Jamaica, West Indies. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 530:1-22, 11 figures, 9 tables.
  • 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 J. Yager. 1996. The troglobitic halocyprid Ostracoda of anchialine caves in Cuba. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 580:1-16, 9 figures, 1 table.
  • Kornicker, L.S. and J. Yager. 2002. Description of Spelaeoecia saturno, a new species from an anchialine cave in Cuba, (Crustacea: Ostracoda: Myodocopa: Halocyprididae). Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 115(1):153-170, 11 figures, 2 tables.
  • Kornicker, L.S., J. Yager, and D. Williams. 1990. Ostracoda (Halocyprididae) from anchialine caves in the Bahamas. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 495:1-51, 30 figures, 4 tables.

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

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