Tulumella unidens Bowman & Iliffe, 1988
Taxonomic Characterization: Unpigmented, blind thermosbaenacean with small but non-functional eyestalks. Telson separate from pleoite 6. Seven pairs of perepods present. Exopod of pereopod 6 1- or 2- segmented. Antenna 2 with scale. Maxilliped of female with or without endopod. Right or both mandibles without lacinia mobilis; molar slender, cylindrical; chewing surface divided into a few slender spiniform teeth (Bowman & Iliffe, 1988).
Ecological Classification: Stygobitic
Size: Length to 3 mm
Number of Species in Genus: Three, all stygobitic
|Tulumella: genus range|
Species Range: Known only from Cenote Najaron, Cenote Temple of Doom, and
Cenote Carwash, Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Closest Related Species: Both T. unidens and T. grandis from the Bahamas share a long and multi-segmented first antennae, although the latter species is considerably larger.
Habitat: Anchialine limestone caves
Ecology: Three specimens were collected from near the halocline at -10 to -18 m depth. Salinities above and below the halocline at -14 m were 1.5 and 35 ppt, respectively.
Life History: Not known. The 29 specimens of the two Bahamian species reported by Yager (1987) are all females.
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 three caves, all within the vicinity of Tulum, Quintana Roo, Mexico.
Contributor: Giuseppe L. Pesce, University of L'Aquila, Italy
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