Thursday 25 October 2012

A new Isopod Crustacean from a limestone cave in Brazil.

Isopods are small, flat, benthic Crustaceans known from marine, freshwater and terrestrial environments, where they are known as Woodlice or Pill Bugs, due to the tendency of many species to roll up into tight balls resembling pills for defencive purposes. They are a successful and widespread group with a fossil record that dates back to the Carboniferous. Most species are detritivores, though some marine forms are parasitic on Fish.

In a paper published in the journal Zootaxa on 4 September 2012, Simona Prevorcnic of the Biotehni┼íka fakulteta at  the Univerza v Ljubljani, Rodrigo Lopes Ferreira of the Departamento de Biologia at the Universidade Federal de Lavras and Boris Sket, also of the Biotehni┼íka fakulteta at  the Univerza v Ljubljani, describe a new species of aquatic Isopod Crustacean from a karst (eroded limestone) cave from Bahia State in Brazil.

The new species is named Brasileirinho cavaticus, meaning 'the small Brazilian from the cave'. It is a 1.7-2.5 mm colourless Crustacean, known only from a single location, Baixa Funda Cave in Paripiranga District in the northeast of Bahia, where they apparently feed on guano. The Crustaceans were unable to swim, but did not appear to have any natural predators.

Brasileirinho cavaticus, (Top) colony on bottom of pond in cave, arrows indicate guano. (Middle) Smaller group magnified. (Bottom) Individual specimen. Prevorcnic et al. (2012).

See also Nine new species of cave-dwelling huntsman spider from Laos, New species of Cave Spider from Oregon, Two new species of Cave Crab from Christmas Island, Nauplius Larvae frim the Windyfield Chert in Aberdeenshire, Scotland and Two new species of freshwater Isopod Crustaceans from Lake Pedder in Tasmania.

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