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Morphological and molecular analyses of epikarstic Parastenocarididae (Copepoda: Harpacticoida) from two Sicilian caves, with description of a new Stammericaris



We describe Stammericaris destillans sp. nov., and re-describe Stammericaris trinacriae (Pesce, Galassi and Cottarelli 1988) based on new material. The two species were collected from epikarstic drips and pools on the floor of two different caves: a karstic (Molara Cave) and a gypsum (Entella Cave) cave, respectively, both located in Sicily, Italy. We also report the presence of previously undescribed structures for Stammericaris amyclaea (Cottarelli 1969) and Stammericaris orcina (Chappuis 1938). Phylogenetic analyses of the mitochondrial COI and ribosomal 18S genes attributed the new species to Stammericaris Jakobi 1972, therefore the structure of the male P4 endopod of S. destillans is interpreted as an autapomorphy; other morphological features (structure of male antennule and P3, of female P3; inner ornamentation of P1 basis, armature of caudal rami and shape and armature of P5 of both sexes) correspond to those typical of the genus. Hence, we slithgly amended the generic diagnosis. []



Crustacea, 18S rDNA gene, COI gene, crustacean, evaporitic cave, stygofauna

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