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Cladocera (Branchiopoda: Anomopoda, Ctenopoda, and Onychopoda) from Sicilian inland waters: an updated inventory

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An extensive survey aimed at updating and increasing the knowledge on species richness and distribution of Cladocera (Branchiopoda) in Sicily has been carried out in the period 2000-2004. More than 250 water bodies, mainly temporary, have been sampled on the whole Sicilian territory and the circum-Sicilian islands. This sampling effort led to the discovery of several species new to the fauna of the island and, coupled with a careful bibliographic review, allowed the realization of an updated checklist that includes 57 species definitely present on the island (only 33 were formerly known), and two more, whose actual presence in Sicily is dubious and needs confirmation. The chorological spectrum of the Sicilian cladoceran fauna shows a predominance of taxa with a wide distribution, but several others with a strictly Mediterranean range are also present. A slightly major affinity of the Sicilian cladoceran fauna with the Tunisian one, rather than with that inhabiting the water bodies of the Italian mainland, was observed. Moreover, the lack of detailed information on cladoceran species richness and composition in Tunisia does not allow to determine a definitive outline of the affinities and origins of the fauna on the island. Nevertheless, the island, located in the middle of the Mediterranean basin, represents a pivotal point in this area, characterized by high biodiversity indices. Tra il 2000 ed il 2004 è stata condotta una campagna di studi finalizzata ad aggiornare ed incrementare le conoscenze sulla ricchezza specifica e sulla diversità dei cladoceri (Branchiopoda) siciliani. Sono stati campionati più di 250 bacini, dall'idroperiodo temporaneo o permanente, in Sicilia e nelle isole circumsiciliane. Questo sforzo di campionamento ha portato al rinvenimento di numerose entità nuove per l'isola e, affiancato ad una revisione accurata della bibliografia esistente, ha portato alla redazione di una checklist aggiornata che comprende 57 specie presenti con certezza in Sicilia (a fronte delle 33 conosciute in precedenza) e altre due la cui presenza attuale in Sicilia è dubbia e necessita di conferme. Lo spettro corologico della fauna a cladoceri siciliana mostra la predominanza di taxa dall'ampia distribuzione, ma sono presenti numerosi taxa ad areale strettamente mediterraneo. E'stata osservata una affinità leggermente maggiore della fauna a cladoceri siciliana con quella tunisina rispetto che con quella dell'Italia peninsulare. Purtroppo l'assenza di informazioni dettagliate riguardanti i cladoceri tunisini non permette di avere un quadro chiaro delle origini e delle affinità della fauna dell'isola. Ad ogni modo, la Sicilia, posta al centro del bacino del Mediterraneo, rappresenta un punto nodale in una area caratterizzata da elevati valori di biodiversità.


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