Parhippolyte sterreri (Hart & Manning, 1981)
Synonyms: Somersiella sterreri Hart & Manning, 1981
Taxonomic Characterization: Large, bright red shrimp with characteristic white bands on leg joints and three white spots on tail. Carapace with antennal and branchiostegal spines. Rostrum broad, length about 2.5 times depth, short, scarcely overreaching basal segment of antennular peduncle. Eyes pigmented, cornea broader than stalk. Seven arthrobranchs, one on the second maxilliped, two on the third and one on each of the anterior four pereopods (Hart & Manning, 1984).
Disposition of Specimens: Male holotype and female paratype from Bermuda deposited in National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, catalog numbers USNM 184016-7.
Ecological Classification: Stygobitic
Size: Postorbital carapace length to 24.9 mm (30.7 mm including rostrum) in female paratype from Bermuda (Hart & Manning, 1984).
Number of Species in Genus: Three
Closest Related Species: Closely related to P. uveae from
anchialine pools of Fiji and Indonesia in the Indo West Pacific. P. uveae
was recently featured on a postage stamp from Fiji making it the first
anchialine species so honored. According to the accompanying documentation:
Fiji stamp: showing sacred red prawn
"Red Prawns (Parhippolyte uveae) probably exist in Fiji because their
bright red color created village superstitions, which promised shipwreck, even
death to those who were tempted to remove them. Called sacred prawns by Fijians
(or 'ura buta' - cooked prawn - because of their color) they are found in only
two locations in Fiji: the island of Vatulele and Naweni Village on Vanua Levu.
Both habitats are lava rock pools with salty, brackish water, near but not
connected to the sea. In both locations, villagers need chiefly approval to
approach the ponds, and both areas practice a solemn ritual of 'calling the
prawns' to which the prawns seem to respond."
Habitat: Anchialine and marine caves
Ecology: Collected from inland anchialine caves from Bermuda and ocean blue holes and caves from the Bahamas and Yucatan.
Life History: An ovigerous female from Cozumel carried an estimated 2,000 tiny eggs attached to its pleopods. The small size of these eggs would suggest an extended planktonic larval stage (Kensley, 1988).
Evolutionary Origins: The genus Parhippolyte exhibits a Tethyan distributional pattern.
Conservation Status: Inhabits anchialine and marine caves from a wide area of the tropical Western Atlantic ranging from Yucatan to Bermuda.
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