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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Eumalacostraca
Order Decapoda
Family Atyidae

Typhlatya garciai Chace, 1942


Taxonomic Characterization:
Eyes with pigment spot. Rostrum not extending anteriorly beyond eyes. Flagellar lobule of first maxilliped well developed. Color was reported to vary between dark pink and perfectly hyaline (Hobbs and Hobbs, 1977).

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Total length approximately 14 mm; postorbital carapace length 6 mm

Number of Species in Genus: Seventeen, all stygobitic

Genus Range:

  • Ascension Island: T. rogersi Chace & Manning, 1972
  • Bahamas:
    • Acklins Island: T. kakuki Alvarez, Iliffe and Villalobos, 2005
  • Bermuda:
    • Tucker's Town Cave: T. iliffei Hart & Manning, 1981
  • Caicos Islands:
    • Providenciales Island: T. garciai Chace, 1942, reported in Buden and Felder, 1977
  • Cuba:
    • Camagüey, Matanzas & Pinar del Río Provinces: T. consobrina Botosaneanu & Holthuis, 1970
    • Holguín & Pinar del Río Provinces: T. garciai Chace, 1942
    • Matanzas Province: T. elenae Juarrero, 1994; T. garciadebrasi Juarrero y Ortiz, 2000
    • La Habana Province: T. taina Estrada y Gómez, 1987
  • Curaçao: T. monae Chace, 1954 reported in Debrot, 2003
  • Dominican Republic:
    • Provincia de San Pedro de Macoris: T. monae Chace, 1954 reported in Chace, 1975
  • Galapagos islands:
    • Isla de Santa Cruz: T. galapagensis Monod & Cals, 1970
  • Herzegovina: T. pretneri (Matjašic, 1956)
  • Honduras:
    • Utila: T. utilaensis, Alvarez, Iliffe and Villalobos, 2005
  • Leeward Islands:
    • Barbuda: T. monae Chace, 1954, reported in Chace and Hobbs, 1969
  • Puerto Rico:
    • Isla Mona: T. monae Chace, 1954 reported in Peck, 1974
  • Spain:
    • Castellon: T. miravetensis Sanz & Platvoet, 1995
  • Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico:

Species Range: Known from Provincia de Pinar del Río: Viñales, Cueva de las Represas, Cueva Grande; Provincia de Holguín: Banes, Cueva Potrero del Molino, Rafael Freyre, Casimbas de Pesquero, Cuba and from a cave on Providenciales Island, Caicos Islands.

Closest Related Species: Closely resembles T. monae from Puerto Rico

Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves

Ecology: In Cuba, T. garciai was collected in fresh water in almost complete darkness at depths of 20-50 cm. In Providenciales, T. garciai was collected in a sunlit brackish pool at depths less than 1 m. The pool contained significant amounts of decaying organic matter.

Life History: Occur in large numbers, many of thousands of individuals, swarming in the waters. They are graceful swimmers, yet many were observed crawling on submerged stones. The chelipeds are short, ending with a fan-shaped brush with which they scrub the surface of stones or roots, apparently feeding on this substance. The species does not feed on live food, as happens with other species in this genus (Hobbs and Hobbs, 1977). An ovigerous female specimen carried 74 eggs (Buden and Felder, 1977).

Evolutionary Origins: Of the seventeen species in the genus, six (from the Galapagos Islands, Bahamas, Bermuda, Ascension Island, Yucatan and the Caicos Islands) inhabit brackish or marine waters, while the remainder are found in freshwater habitats. According to Iliffe (1986:7), "species within the genus appear to have evolved from an open water marine ancestor in the Atlantic which spread westward through the Caribbean into the Pacific with prevailing currents before the closure of the Panama land bridge." Iliffe et al. (1983) suggested an origin of the genus on submerged and emergent seamounts associated with the Mid-Atlantic Ridge during the separation of the American and African continental masses.
Sanz and Platvoet (1995) believe that the occurrence of the genus in Europe links the origin of the genus Typhlatya to the Tethys Sea. The ancestor was probably a marine, coastal shrimp inhabiting low latitude seas. Maximal development of the ancestral range probably occurred in the Late Cretaceous (about 90 MYA). The full opening of the Atlantic and the end of global Tethyan currents divided its range into three populations: European, Mid-Atlantic Ridge and Central American. Central American populations were further subdivided by plate tectonics into Yucatan, Antilles and Galapagos populations. For unknown reasons, the ancestral marine populations disappeared, leaving only those species that had earlier entered the cave environment. Absence of clear morphological patterns within the recent species may be due to the early timing of isolation between and within lineages.

Conservation Status: Restricted to anchialine caves in Cuba and the Caicos Islands

References:

  • Alvarez, F., T.M. Iliffe and J.L. Villalobos. 2005. New species of the genus Typhlatya (Decapoda: Atyidae) from anchialine caves in Mexico, the Bahamas, and Honduras. Journal of Crustacean Biology, 25(1):81–94, 7 figures.
  • Botosaneanu, L., and L.B. Holthuis. 1970. Subterranean shrimps from Cuba (Crusacea: Decapoda: Natantia). Travaux de L'Institut de Spéologie, "Emile Racovitza," 9:121-133, 2 figures.
  • Buden, D.W., and D.L. Felder. 1977. Cave shrimps in the Caicos Islands. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 90(1):108-115.
  • Chace, F.A. Jr. 1954. Two new subterranean shrimps (Decapoda: Caridea) from Florida and the West Indies, with a revised key to the American species. Journal of the Washington Academy of Sciences, 44(10):318-324, 2 figures.
  • 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.
  • Chace, F.A. Jr. and H.H. Hobbs Jr. 1969. The freshwater and terrestrial decapod crustaceans of the West Indies with special reference to Dominica. United States National Museum Bulletin, 292:1-258, 76 figures.
  • Chace, F.A. Jr., and R.B. Manning. 1972. Two new caridean shrimps, one representing a new family, from marine pools on Ascension Island (Crustacea: Decapoda: Natantia). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 131:1-18, 11 figures.
  • Creaser, E.P. 1936. Crustaceans from Yucatan. In: A.S. Pearse, E.P. Creaser, and F.G. Hall, The cenotes of Yucatan: a zoological and hydrographic survey. Carnegie Institution of Washington Publications, 47:117-132, 43 figures.
  • Hart C.W. Jr., and R.B. Manning. 1981. The cavernicolous caridean shrimps of Bermuda (Alpheidae, Hippolytidae, and Atyidae). Journal of Crustacean Biology, 1(3):441-456, 77 figures.
  • Hobbs, H.H. III. 1979. Additional notes on cave shrimps (Crustacea: Atyidae and Palaemonidae) from the Yucatan Peninsula, Mexico. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 92(3):618-633, 3 figures, 2 tables.
  • Hobbs, H.H. Jr. and H.H. Hobbs III. 1976. One the troglobitic shrimps of the Yucatan Peninsula (Decapoda: Atyidae and Palaemonidae). Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 240:1-23, 8 figures, 2 maps.
  • Hobbs, H.H. Jr., H.H. Hobbs III, and M.A. Daniel. 1977. A review of troglobitic decapod crustaceans of the Americas. Smithsonian Contributions to Zoology, 244:1-183.
  • Iliffe, T.M. 1986. The zonation model for the evolution of aquatic faunas in anchialine waters. Stygologia, 2:2-9.
  • Iliffe, T.M., C.W. Hart, Jr. and R.B. Manning. 1983. Biogeography and the caves of Bermuda. Nature, 302:141-142.
  • Juarrero, A. y M. Ortiz. 2000. El género Typhlatya (Crustacea: Decapoda: Atyidae) en Cuba, con la descripción de una nueva especie. Avicennia, 12/13:45-54, 6 figures.
  • Monod, T. and P. Cals. 1970. Sur une espece nouvelle de crevette cavernicole: Typhlatya galapagensis (Decapoda Natantia; Atyidae). Mission Zoologique Belge aux Iles Galapagos et en Ecuador, 2:57-103, 67 figures.
  • Peck, S.B. 1974. The invertebrate fauna of tropical American caves, part II: Puerto Rico, an ecological and zoogeographic analysis. Biotropica, 6(1):14-31, 8 figures.
  • Pérez-Aranda, L. 1983. Atyidae: Typhlatya pearsei. Fauna de los Cenotes de Yucatan, No. 3, Universidad de Yucatan, Merida, 11 pp., 2 figures, 4 maps.
  • Reddell, J.R. 1977. A preliminary survey of the caves of the Yucatan Peninsula. In: Survey of the Caves and Cave Fauna of the Yucatan Peninsula, J.R. Reddell (ed.), Association for Mexican Cave Studies Bulletin 6, pages 215-296, 15 figures, 1 table.
  • Sanz, S. and D. Platvoet. 1995. New perspectives of the evolution of the genus Typhlatya (Crustacea, Decapoda): First record of a cavernicolous atyid in the Iberian Peninsula, Typhlatya miravetensis n. sp. Contributions to Zoology (Amsterdam), 65(2):215-296, 8 figures, 4 tables.
  • Wilkens, H. 1982. Regressive evolution and phylogenetic age: The history of colonization of freshwaters of Yucatan by fish and Crustacea. Association of Mexican Cave Studies Bulletin, 8:237-243.


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