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The coastal-estuarine copepod, Eurytemora affinis (Poppe) (Calanoida, Temoridae), from arid inland areas of Mexico: an expected occurrence?

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For decades, the coastal-estuarine copepod, Eurytemora affinis (Poppe, 1880) was considered a cosmopolitan species. Recent studies have demonstrated that it represents a species complex with static morphology but with genetically recognizable forms clustered in defined geographical patterns. In North America, this species is widely distributed in coastal environments, but has been known to also colonize freshwater systems along the eastern coast of the United States and Canada. Based on serial samples collected in the Chihuahuan Desert (2003-2006) and in the State of Tamaulipas (2000-2002), in this work we report the occurrence of this coastal copepod from arid and semi-arid continental systems of northern Mexico and the southwestern United States. All records are from areas well inland: 800 km from the coast in the Chihuahuan Desert and 240-250 km in Tamaulipas. Records from these particularly dry, isolated habitats illustrate the adaptive performance of this species, which enables it to dwell in such extreme conditions. This is the first record of E. affinis from Mexico and also the southernmost one in the Americas as a freshwater form. Illustrations and morphometric data of specimens obtained in these arid and semi-arid zones are provided. The size, general morphology, and morphometry of these specimens show similarities to different sub-groups known within the species range, but some characters and ratios are outside of the known patterns, thus expanding the morphometric spectrum of this species. Hitherto, the only other finding of an estuarine coastal calanoid copepod in epicontinental freshwater environments in Mexico is that of Pseudodiaptomus marshi Wright, 1936 on the Yucatan Peninsula. Por décadas, el copépodo costero-estuarino Eurytemora affinis (Poppe, 1880) fue considerado como una especie cosmopolita. Estudios recientes han demostrado que esta especie es en realidad un complejo de especies con una morfología estática pero con formas genéticamente reconocibles agrupadas en patrones geográficos definidos. En América del Norte esta especie se encuentra ampliamente distribuida en ambientes costeros, pero se sabe, desde hace varios años, que ha logrado colonizar también habitats de aguas continentales a lo largo de la costa oriental de los Estados Unidos y Canadá. Con base en muestras obtenidas en el Desierto de Chihuahua (2003-2006) y en el estado de Tamaulipas (2000-2002), en este trabajo reportamos la presencia de este copépodo costero en sistemas acuáticos continentales ubicados en zonas áridas y semi-áridas del norte de México y el sur de los Estados Unidos. Ambos registros provienen de areas tierra adentro: 800 km de la costa en el caso de los sitemas del Desierto Chihuahuense y 240-250 km en el de Tamaulipas. Estos registros en zonas aisladas y secas muestran la capacidad adaptativa de esta especie. Estos son los primeros registros de E. affinis en Mexico y es el registro más meridional de la especie en el continente como una forma de aguas dulces. Se incluyen ilustraciones y datos morfométricos de los especímenes registrados. Su morfometría muestra afinidades con distintos grupos dentro del intervalo de la especie; algunas proporciones y caracteres no se encuentran en este patrón y permiten ampliar el espectro morfométrico de esta especie. Hasta ahora, el único hallazgo previo de un copépodo calanoide costero-estuarino en ambientes continentales de Mexico es de Pseudodiaptomus marshi Wright, 1936 en la Península de Yucatán, cerca de la costa.

Affiliations: 1: El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Unidad Chetumal, A.P. 424, Chetumal, Quintana Roo 77000, Mexico; 2: Universidad de Quintana Roo, Campus Cozumel, Cozumel, Quintana Roo, Mexico; 3: Universidad Autónoma de Nuevo León, Facultad de Ciencias Biológicas, Monterrey, Nuevo León, Mexico; 4: University of Texas at El Paso, 500 W University Ave., El Paso, Texas 79968, U.S.A


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