[Home] [Introduction] [Faunal List] [Bahamas Islands] [Satellite Photos] [Site Map]

Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Ostracoda
Order Halocyprida
Family Halocyprididae

Spelaeoecia capax Kornicker, in Kornicker, Yager and Williams, 1990

Taxonomic Characterization: The carapace is uncalcified, flexible, and elongate. The dorsal margin is straight and the ventral margin is broadly convex. The anterior incisur is dorsal to midheight. When viewed from the inside, the anterior of the valve's edge is slightly sinuate. The anterior part of the rostrum broadly overreaches the edge of the valve and it has a rounded tip. In the lateral view, the posterodorsal corner of each valve is evenly rounded. S. capax can be distinguished from other Spelaeoecia species by the following characteristics:

  • The length of the carapace is greater than 2.25 mm.
  • Each lamella of furca has more than 5 claws.

    Click here to view the full size image
Spelaeoecia capax: lateral view after Kornicker et al., 1990 Spelaeoecia capax: laterial view Spelaeoecia capax: ventral view

Disposition of Specimens: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, catalog numbers USNM 193449, 194264-7, 194286-94, 194412-194449, 194520-9.

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Adult females' length without processes range from 2.60 to 3.15 mm. Adult males' length without processes range from 2.67 to 2.97 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
  Click here to view the full size image

Spelaeoecia: genus range

Species Range: Alphonso Dean Blue Hole, Long Island, (type locality); Oven Rock Cave, Great Guana Cay, Exuma Cays (Kornicker & Iliffe, 1998) and Norman's Pond Cave, Norman's Pond Cay, Exuma Cays, (Kornicker & Iliffe, 2000) all on Great Bahama Bank, Bahamas

Closest Related Species: S. cubensis from Cuba

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: Free-swimming in fully marine (20-36 g/l) waters, at a depth of 0-22 m.

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 0.81 to 2.25 mm.

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 three caves in the Exumas and Long Island, both on the Great Bahama Bank.


  • 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

[Home] [Introduction] [Faunal List] [Bahamas Islands] [Satellite Photos] [Site Map]

Please email us your comments and questions. Last modified: