[Home] [Introduction] [Yucatan Cenotes] [Yucatan Fauna] [Contributors] [Site Map]

Phylum Arthropoda
Subphylum Crustacea
Class Eumalacostraca
Order Thermosbaenacea
Family Tulumellidae

Tulumella grandis Yager, 1987

Taxonomic Characterization:
The largest known thermosbaenacean to date. Eyes absent, small rounded eyestalks present. Carapace covering pereonites 1-7. Pigmentation lacking. Antenna 1 very long, about 3/4 of body length. Antenna 2 with exopod as single scale. Left mandible with 4-cusped incisor process and 3 or 4 cusped lacinia mobilis, right mandible lacking lacinia mobilis. Maxilla 1 endopod with 4 long denticulate spines. Maxilla 2 basal elements with spoon-shaped distal setae bearing cuticular fringe. Dactyl of pereopods 2-7 with serrate apex. Telson with 5-6 pairs of spines (Yager, 1987).

Ecological Classification: Stygobitic

Size: Length from 4.5 to 5.2 mm

Number of Species in Genus: Three, all stygobitic

Genus Range:

  • Bahamas
    • Abaco: T. bahamensis Yager, 1987 and T. grandis Yager, 1987
    • Andros: T. bahamensis Yager, 1987 and T. grandis Yager, 1987
    • Grand Bahama: T. bahamensis Yager, 1987 and T. grandis Yager, 1987
  • Yucatan Peninsula: T. unidens Bowman & Iliffe, 1988
      • Cenote Najaron (type locality); Cenote Temple of Doom, Cenote Carwash reported in Holsinger, 1990
  Click here to view the full size image
Tulumella: genus range

Species Range: Known from five caves (Lucayan Caverns, Sagittarius Cave, Bahama Cement Cave, Asgard Cave, Lucy's Cave) in Grand Bahama and one cave each in Abaco (Dan's Cave) and South Andros (El Dorado Cave).

Closest Related Species: T. grandis shows a closer relationship to T. unidens than it does to T. bahamensis.

Habitat: Anchialine, inland blue hole, limestone caves

Ecology: Tulumella grandis is a relatively euhaline neritic species that lives near the density interface of the halocline. In Lucayan Caverns, thermosbaenaceans are the most abundant animal in the water column, with as many as 20 individuals per cubic meter. They are typically found in association with a number of other stygobitic taxa including remipedes (Speleonectes, Cryptocorynetes, Godzillius, Pleomothra and Godzilliognomus), amphipods (Bahadzia and Spelaeonicippe), isopods (Bahalana), mysids (Stygiomysis), ostracods (Deeveya and Spelaeocia) and fish (Lucifuga).

Life History: The 23 specimens reported by Yager (1987) were all females. One was overgerous.

Evolutionary Origins: The distribution of thermosbaenaceans with hypogean species in the West Indies, Yucatan, Texas, the Canary Islands, the Mediterranean region, Somalia and Cambodia is taken to indicate a Tethyan origin associated with the breakup of Pangea in post-Jurassic time (Schram, 1986; Cals & Monod, 1988).

Conservation Status: Known from inland blue hole caves on both the Great Bahama and Little Bahama Banks.


  • Cals, P. and T. Monod. 1988. Évolution et biogéographie des Crustace´s Thermosbénace´s. Comptes Rendus Hebdomadaires des Seances de l’Academie des Sciences, series 3, 307:341–348.
  • Schram, F. R., 1986: Crustacea. New York, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Stock, J. H. 1986. Thermosbaenacea. In: Stygofauna Mundi: A Faunistic, Distributional, and Ecological Synthesis of the World Fauna inhabiting Subterranean Waters (including the marine interstitial). L. Botosaneanu (ed.) Leiden, The Netherlands - E.J. Brill / Dr. W. Backhuys.
  • Wagner, H.P. 1994. A monographic review of the Thermosbaenacea (Crustacea: Peracarida): A study on their morphology, taxonomy, phylogeny and biogeography. Zoologische Verhandelingen (Leiden). 291:3-338.
  • Yager, J. 1987. Tulumella grandis and T. bahamensis, two new species of thermosbaenacean crustaceans (Monodellidae) from anchialine caves in the Bahamas. Stygologia, 3(4):373-382, 4 figures.


Contributor: Jill Yager, Antioch College, Yellow Springs, OH

[Home] [Introduction] [Yucatan Cenotes] [Yucatan Fauna] [Contributors] [Site Map]

Please email us your comments and questions. Last modified: