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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Remipedia
Order Nectiopoda
Family Godzilliidae

Pleomothra apletocheles Yager, 1989



Taxonomic Characterization: The cephalic shield has prominent posterolateral, articulated, spine-like projections. The maxilla 1 is robust and chelate. The segment 4 endite is developed distally as the process that forms chela with opposing 2 distal segments. The surface of the club has many short, round tomentose sensillae. The maxilla 2 and the maxilliped has many robust candeliform setae. Pleomothra apletocheles is the only species within the genus. This genus/species has the following additional distinguishing characteristics:

  • The head shield is subtrapezoidal in shape.
  • The claw complex has 1 long medial spine and several shorter subterminal spines.
  • The body length is less than 20 mm.

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: The maximum length of adult specimens was 17.1 mm.

Number of Species in Genus: One

Genus Range:

  • Bahamas:
    • Abaco Island: Pleomothra apletocheles Yager, 1989
    • Grand Bahama Island: Pleomothra apletocheles Yager, 1989
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Pleomothra: genus range

Species Range: Known only from Dan's Cave, Abaco Island, and Sagittarius Cave, Sweeting's Cay, Grand Bahama Island, both on the Little Bahama Bank, Bahamas

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. P. apletocheles differs from Godzilliognomus frondosus in the shape of the cephalic shield and from Godzillius robustus by the presence of a prominent posterolateral process.

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: They are found below the density interface in exceptionally clear, more saline water of low dissolved oxygen content.

Evolutionary Origins: Remipedes are the most primitive living crustacean. Their distribution on opposite sides of the Atlantic and in Western Australia indicates a Tethyan origin.

Conservation Status: Restricted to two caves within the Little Bahama Bank.

References:

  • Yager, Jill. 1989. Pleomothra apletocheles and Godzilliognomus frondosus, two new genera and species of remipede crustaceans (Godzilliidae) from anchialine caves of the Bahamas. Bulletin of Marine Science, 44(3):1195-1206, 7 figures.

Links:

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


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