Spelaeoecia styx Kornicker, 1990
Taxonomic Characterization: Carapace uncalcified, flexible and elongate.
Dorsal margin straight. Ventral margin convex but fairly straight at midlength.
Sexual dimorphism is present. Posterodorsal gland of right valve on
protuberance. Adult furca with 7 claws on each lamella. First antenna without
ventral bristle on 3rd joint (Kornicker, Yager & Williams, 1990).
Disposition of Specimens: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, catalog numbers USNM 193440, 194260-1, 194266, 194270, 194270-8, 194285, 194295-9, 194300, 194325-7, 194414-5, 194434, 194450, 194530-1.
Ecological Classification: Stygobitic
Size: Adult male carapace length ranges from 0.91-1.11 mm; adult female from 0.95-1.16 mm.
Number of Species in Genus: Ten, all from anchialine caves.
Spelaeoecia: genus range
Species Range: Found only in El Dorado Cave, South Andros Island (type
locality), Oven Rock Cave, Great Guana Cay, Exuma Cays, and Norman's Pond Cay,
Exuma Cays, all on the Great Bahama Bank, Bahamas.
Closest Related Species: Resembles S. sagax from Grand Bahama Island on the Little Bahama Bank.
Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves
Ecology: Collected at depths of 0-35 m in fully marine salinity waters (35 ppt). In addition to being found in the water column, specimens were collected from fine, dark brown silt on ledges. Gut contents of some female specimens composed of crustacean-like claws, suggesting a carnivorous or scavenger-like lifestyle.
Life History: Species is composed of adults and instars A-1 to A-5. 80 specimens have been collected. Of the 80 specimens, 15 were adult females, 16 were adult males, 2 were A-1 males, 15 were A-1 females, 12 were A-2 (sex unknown), 9 were A-3 (sex unknown), 6 were A-4 (sex unknown) and 5 were A-5 (sex unknown). At least one adult male had sperm clusters near the copulatory limbs, with each cluster containing abundant thread-like filaments (Kornicker, Yager & Williams, 1990).
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 & 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 two anchialine limestone caves on the Great Bahama Bank.
Contributor: Louis S. Kornicker, National Museum of
Natural History, Washington, DC
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