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Range extension and microhabitat of Lightiella incisa (Cephalocarida)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  01 June 2000


Marleen De Troch
Affiliation:
University of Gent, Biology Department, Marine Biology Section, K. L. Ledeganckstraat 35, 9000 Gent, Belgium
Frank Fiers
Affiliation:
Royal Belgian Institute of Natural Sciences, Department of Invertebrates, Vautierstraat 29, 1000 Brussels, Belgium
Magda Vincx
Affiliation:
University of Gent, Biology Department, Marine Biology Section, K. L. Ledeganckstraat 35, 9000 Gent, Belgium

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Abstract

During an intensive meiofauna sampling campaign in intertidal seagrass beds along the Caribbean coast of the Yucatán Peninsula (Mexico), 131 specimens of Lightiella incisa (Cephalocarida, Crustacea) were recovered from the sediment. Two-thirds of the specimens were adults, one-third were pre-adults. This collection is the first record of this minute primitive crustacean in the western part of the Caribbean Sea, and extends the known range 3000 km from the type locality of Hastings Bay, Barbados. A detailed sampling protocol and environmental data made it possible to study the microhabitat preferences of this species, and perhaps for cephalocarids in general for the first time. The vertical distribution of L. incisa in the sediment showed a maximum density in deeper layers, i.e. 3–4 and 4–5 cm depth. Nitrate and nitrite concentrations seem to be most closely related to the distribution of L. incisa. It was clear that L. incisa followed polychaetes to deeper sediment layers. In this study we state that L. incisa is an endobenthic species occupying anoxic sediments oxygenated by bioturbation (e.g. Polychaeta) rather than being an animal living in the oxygenated top layers.


Type
Research Article
Copyright
2000 The Zoological Society of London

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