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Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Eumalacostraca
Order Decapoda
Family Atyidae

Typhlatya mitchelli Hobbs & Hobbs, 1976


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Typhlatya mitchelli melanistic female showing color pattern: after Hobbs, 1979

Taxonomic Characterization: Translucent to white or pigmented small shrimp. Pigment, which occurs only in individuals from some localities, appears grayish to black or brown (Hobbs, 1979). Eyes lack facets and pigment. Rostrum does not extend anteriorly beyond eyes.

Disposition of Specimens: National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, holotype catalog number USNM 151904; The Museum, Texas Tech University; and Insituto de Biología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de Mexico.

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Total length to about 16 mm; carapace length of adult females was 3.4-4.8 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: This species is known from numerous caves and cenotes in the Coastal Plain from the states of Quintana Roo and Yucatan, Mexico.

Closest Related Species: T. mitchelli is intermediate, both in morphology and in geographic position, between the Caribbean species with a short rostrum (from Cuba and Mona) and the seemingly disjunct species from the Galapagos (Hobbs & Hobbs, 1976).

Habitat: Freshwater cave pools

Ecology: According to Hobbs (1979:622), "In all localities shrimps were living in lentic situations varying from very small shallow (less than 0.3 m depth) pools to extensive underground lakes (greater than 2.0 m depth). Generally the pools were in total darkness, but T. mitchelli occurs in entrance areas that receive direct light from the surface. Substrates of the pools consisted of guano, silt, organic debris, rocks and combinations thereof. Shrimp were found on the substrate, "hanging" from submerged walls along the edges of lakes, free-swimming, and among dense, branched root systems hanging down from the roof of cenotes." Often occurs with the more abundant T. pearsei.

Life History: Nothing is known of the life history. Sexual dimorphism noted in the second pereiopods of the females (Hobbs & Hobbs, 1976). Holthius (1977) described the appendix masculina of the male second pleopod.

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.
Both T. pearsei and T. mitchelli show identical degrees of eye reduction suggesting that they started their cavernicolous evolution at the same time (Wilkens, 1982).

Conservation Status: Found in numerous freshwater caves and cenotes along the Coastal Plain of the Yucatan Peninsula. Classified as endangered by the NOM-059-ECOL-2001 "Norma Oficial Mexicana".

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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