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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Remipedia
Order Nectiopoda
Family Godzilliidae

Godzillius robustus Schram, Yager & Emerson, 1986


Taxonomic Characterization:
No eyes. Cephalic shield subtrapezoidal, widely posteriorly than anteriorly. Frontal filaments with several "joints". The adult is composed of 29 trunk segments. The trunk limbs are all biramous paddles (Schram, Yager and Emerson, 1986).

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: The length of the holotype is 43.2 mm.

Number of Species in Genus: One

Genus Range:

  • Caicos Islands:
    • North Caicos: Godzillius robustus Schram, Yager & Emerson, 1986
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Godzillius robustus: genus range

Species Range: Known only from Cottage Pond, North Caicos Island, Turks and Caicos Islands, British West Indies.

Closest Related Species: It is the only known species within the genus. The family Godzilliidae is composed of three genera, which are all anchialine cave-dwelling species from the West Indies. The three genera are very similar in morphology. Godzillius robustus differs from Godzilliognomus frondosus in the shape of the cephalic shield and from P. apletocheles by the absence of a prominent posterolateral process.

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: Free-swimming in the water column. Raptorial life-style. Associated remipede fauna includes Lasionectes entrichoma.

Life History: Only two specimens have been collected. According to Yager (1994):
"Remipedes are simultaneous hermaphrodites. The ovary originates in the posterior portion of the head and lies dorsal to the midgut. The oviducts extend ventrally to the 7th swimming or trunk appendages where the female gonopores are located. The female gonopore is a semicircular structure on the posterior base of the protopod.
The testes are paired organs which originate in the 7th trunk segment and extend posteriorly until about the 10th trunk segment. At this position there is a transition from testes to vas deferens. The vas deferens extends to the male gonopores located at the base of the 14th swimming or trunk appendages. Spermatids are flagellate with a 9 + 2 microtubular arrangement. As they mature and move posteriorly they are packages into spermatophores.
To date, nothing is known about remipede development. Small juveniles have been collected which resemble adults. They are about one-third or less the length of adults."

Evolutionary Origins: The large number of trunk segments, each with similar, laterally directed, biramous, swimming appendages, plus a combination of the other characteristics necessitated the erection of a new crustacean class, the Remipedia (Yager, 1981). Remipedes are believed to be the most primitive of living crustaceans. The fossil species Tesnusocaris goldichi Brooks from Late Mississippian deposits in Texas has been placed in this class. The recent discovery of remipedes from anchialine caves in Western Australia is further evidence for a Tethyan distribution (Yager & Humphreys, 1996).

Conservation Status: Restricted to one anchialine cave on North Caicos Island

References:

  • Schram, F., J. Yager and M. Emerson. 1986. Remipedia. Part I. Systematics. Memoirs of the San Diego Society of Natural History, 15:1-60, 40 figures, 5 tables.
  • Yager, J. 1981. Remipedia, a new class of Crustacea from a marine cave in the Bahamas. Journal of Crustacean Biology, 1(3):328-333, 2 figures.

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Contributor: Jill Yager, Antioch College, Yellow Springs, OH


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