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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Eumalacostraca
Order Decapoda
Family Procarididae

Procaris sp. Kensley, 1988

Taxonomic Characterization: Phyllobranchiate gills; maxillipeds and pereiopods with strong exopods; none of pereiopods chelate or subchelate; rostrum small and unarmed (Kensley, 1988).

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Similar to other congeners where the carapace length reaches 9-10 mm

Number of Species in Genus: Four, all anchialine stygobitic

Genus Range:

  • Ascension Island: P. ascensionis Chace & Manning, 1972
  • Bermuda: P. chacei Hart & Manning, 1986
  • Hawaii: P. hawaiana Holthuis, 1973
  • Yucatan Peninsula
    • Cozumel Island: P. sp. Kensley, 1988
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Procaris sp.

Species Range: Known only from anchialine caves on Cozumel Island, Quintana Roo, Mexico

Closest Related Species: All known species of Procaris are quite similar, showing few differentiating characters (Hart & Manning, 1986).

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: Abele and Felgenhauer (1985) have studied the ecology of the Ascension species. They report that smaller individuals spend most of their time in crevices, while larger individuals are observed swimming in open water. Examination of gut contents reveals that they feed on both plant matter and crustaceans including amphipods and atyid shrimp.

Life History: Little is known of either the reproductive biology or ontogeny of Procaris (Schram, 1986). A sex ratio, determined by the presence of genital apertures, of eight females to one male has been determined for the Ascension species, P. ascensionis (Felgenhauer et al., 1988). Although more than 1,000 specimens of P. ascensionis were observed in the field, no ovigerous females were seen. A single female maintained in the laboratory bore approximately 60 bright orange eggs on the endopods of pleopods. The large size of these eggs (0.83-0.93 mm) suggests the existence of a zoeal larval stage (Felgenhauer et al., 1988).

Evolutionary Origins: Hart and Manning (1986:416) note that the similarities between species and their highly anomalous distribution in marine caves indicate an extremely slow rate of evolution. They suggest that, "Procaris, or its predecessors, may, at one time, have been widely distributed throughout the oceans, surviving today only in cryptic habitats removed from some of the environmental pressures necessitating change."

Conservation Status: Known only from anchialine caves on Cozumel Island.


  • Abele, L.G. and B.E. Felgenhauer. 1985. Observations on the ecology and feeding behavior of the anchialine shrimp Procaris ascensionis. Journal of Crustacean Biology, 5:15-24.
  • Felgenhauer, B.E., L.G. Abele and W. Kim. 1988. Reproductive morphology of the anchialine shrimp Procaris ascensionis (Decapoda: Procarididae). Journal of Crustacean Biology, 8:333-339.
  • Hart, C.W. and R.B. Manning. 1986. Two new shrimps (Procaridae and Agostocarididae, new family) from marine caves of the western North Atlantic. Journal of Crustacean Biology, 6:408-416, 47 figures, 2 tables.
  • Kensley, B. 1988. New species and records of cave shrimps from the Yucatan Peninsula (Decapoda: Agostocarididae and Hippolytidae). Journal of Crustacean Biology, 8(4):688-699, 7 figures.
  • Schram, F.R. 1986. Crustacea. Oxford University Press, Oxford, xii + 606 pp.


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