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      Two new species of Nitocrella (Crustacea, Copepoda, Harpacticoida) from groundwaters of northwestern Australia expand the geographic range of the genus in a global hotspot of subterranean biodiversity

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      Subterranean Biology

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          In Australia, the Ameiridae is the most diverse harpacticoid family in groundwater, with 35 species hitherto reported. In this study, we describe two new species belonging to the “vasconica”-group of the ameirid genus Nitocrella based on specimens collected from groundwaters near mine sites in the Pilbara and Great Sandy Desert regions of northwestern Australia. Nitocrella knotti sp. n. can be distinguished from related taxa by having two setae on the antennal exopod, four armature elements on the distal endopodal segment of leg 2, four armature elements on the distal endopodal segment of leg 3, three armature elements on the distal endopodal segment of leg 4, and three setae on the basoendopodal lobe of leg 5. Nitocrella karanovici sp. n. differs from its congeners by having a short outer spine and long inner seta on the distal endopodal segment of leg 2, three armature elements on the distal endopodal segment of leg 3, and four setae on the basoendopodal lobe of leg 5 in the female. This study is of biogeographic interest in providing the first documentation of the genus Nitocrella from the Pilbara and Great Sandy Desert regions. Both new species of Nitocrella are recorded from restricted localities and appear to be short-range endemics, thus making them potentially vulnerable to environmental changes and threatening processes such as mining. The distribution range of N. karanovici sp. n. coincides with the centre of diversity of the Ethel Gorge aquifer stygobiont community, a globally significant hotspot which is listed as endangered.

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          Protecting the innocent: studying short-range endemic taxa enhances conservation outcomes

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            VIEWPOINT. Is the Australian subterranean fauna uniquely diverse?

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              Rising from Down Under: developments in subterranean biodiversity in Australia from a groundwater fauna perspective

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                Author and article information

                Journal
                Subterranean Biology
                SB
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2615
                1768-1448
                November 10 2016
                November 10 2016
                : 20
                : 51-76
                Article
                10.3897/subtbiol.20.10389
                © 2016

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