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Morphological divergence between cave and surface populations of the digger crayfish, Fallicambarus fodiens (Cottle, 1863) (Decapoda, Cambaridae)

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Fallicambarus fodiens (Cottle, 1863), the digger crayfish, is widespread across lowland woods and other wetlands of the eastern United States. More recently, F. fodiens was discovered in two caves located in the Perryville Karst system in southeastern Missouri. We performed multivariate analyses to explore whether morphological divergence has occurred between cave and nearby surface populations of F. fodiens. Our results revealed that cave individuals had significantly longer antennae relative to surface individuals, and that cave females had longer abdomens relative to surface females. Sexual dimorphism, independent of habitat, was also found. Males had larger chelae and longer antennae, and females had larger tails. The presence of morphologically distinct F. fodiens in caves of the Perryville Karst further increases the already high biodiversity of this karst system. The Perryville Karst is associated with urban and agricultural areas, so the cave fauna should be closely monitored to guard against a potentially detrimental impact from urban and agricultural pollution sources. Fallicambarus fodiens (Cottle, 1863), l'écrevisse fouisseuse, est largement distribuée dans les bois de faible altitude et autres zones humides de l'est des Etats Unis. Plus récemment F. fodiens a été découverte dans deux grottes localisées dans le système karstique de Perryville dans le sudest du Misssouri. Nous avons réalisé des analyses multifactorielles pour explorer si des divergences morphologiques sont apparues entre les populations proches de F. fodiens des grottes et celles de la surface. Nos résultats révèlent que les individus des grottes ont significativement des antennes plus longues par rapport aux individus de surface, et que les femelles des grottes ont des abdomens plus longs que les femelles de surface. Un dimorphisme sexuel, indépendant de l'habitat, a aussi été trouvé. Les mâles ont des pinces plus larges et de plus longues antennes, et les femelles ont un abdomen plus large. La présence de F. fodiens morphologiquement distinctes dans les grottes karstiques de Perryville augmente encore la, déjà grande, biodiversité de ce système karstique. Le karst de Perryville est associé à des zones urbaines et agricoles, donc la faune des grottes devrait être soigneusement contrôlée pour la protéger contre un impact destructeur potentiel à partir de sources de pollution urbaines ou agricoles.

Affiliations: 1: Department of Biology, Southeast Missouri State University, Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701, U.S.A.; 2: Fisheries Division, Southeast Regional Office, Missouri Department of Conservation, 2302 County Park Drive, Cape Girardeau, Missouri 63701, U.S.A.

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