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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Eumalacostraca
Order Decapoda
Family Hippolytidae

Calliasmata nohochi Escobar-Briones, Camacho & Alcocer, 1997

Taxonomic Characterization: Color of living specimens pale red or translucent pink. Integument of carapace finely pitted with minute sharp, elongated scales. Antennal spine almost reaches distal margin of eyes. Eyestalk free, not fused. Eyes are triangular in shape with pigment dispersed as irregular black stains . Rostrum does not extend over eyes. Telson marginal spines are absent.

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Total length of males to 29.5 mm; females to 33.5 mm

Number of Species in Genus: Three, all anchialine stygobitic

Genus Range:

  • Dominican Republic: C. rimolii Chace, 1975
  • Ellice Island (Tuvalu, Polynesia): C. pholidota Holthuis, 1973
  • Sinai Peninsula: C. pholidota Holthuis, 1973
  • Hawaii: C. pholidota Holthuis, 1973
  • Yucatan Peninsula:
    • Quintana Roo: C. nohochi Escobar-Briones, Camacho & Alcocer, 1997

Species Range: Known from Crack House Cave, Nahoch Nah Chich and Cenote Mayan Blue, both in Quintana Roo, Mexico.

Closest Related Species: Calliasmata bears a superficial resemblance to the genus Yagerocaris, represented by one species from Cozumel, Mexico. Within the genus, it closely resembles C. rimolii Chace, 1975.

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: Found in total darkness below the halocline. Their occurrence is limited to fully marine salinity waters (35.2 ppm). Associated fauna include Macrobranchium acathurus, Typhlatya sp., Creaseria morleyi and Creaserella anops.

Life History: Only 3 males and 1 female have been found.

Evolutionary Origins: This shrimp may have invaded crevicular and anchialine habitats in the Jurassic, which severed as refugia for the ancestors of the species during the Mesozoic. The species could have arisen from marine epigean progenitors rather than sharing common subterranean precursors. The wide distribution of the anchialine genus Calliasmata poses puzzling questions concerning its biogeography that may need to be supported by information on other co-occurring stygobitic Crustacea.

Conservation Status: Restricted to two anchialine caves along the Caribbean coast of the Yucatan Peninsula. Its Hawaiian congener C. pholidota has a global rank for extinction of G2: Imperiled globally because of factors making them very vulnerable to extinction range-wide. The criteria for this rank are: 6 - 20 occurrences or 1000 - 3000 individuals remaining. The State Rank (within Hawaii) is S1.2: 2 - 5 viable examples known.


  • Chace, F.A. Jr. 1975. Cave shrimp (Decapoda: Caridea) from the Dominican Republic. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 88:29-44, 7 figures.
  • Escobar-Briones E., M.E. Camacho and J. Alcocer. 1997. Calliasmata nohochi, new species (Decapoda: Caridea: Hippolytidae), from anchialine cave systems in continental Quintana Roo, Mexico. Journal of Crustacean Biology, 17(4):733-744, 4 figures, 3 tables.

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