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The Benthic Amphipod Fauna of the Azores (Portugal): an Up-To-Date Annotated List of Species, and Some Biogeographic Considerations

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The Azores archipelago, located in the middle north Atlantic region, is biogeographically very interesting. With regard to the benthic amphipod fauna there are only few studies that concern the Azores, although species inventory and distributional ecology are relatively well known for the Portuguese continental coast (0 to 700 m). Actually, the knowledge of benthic amphipods from the Azores is limited to the results of two oceanographical expeditions, that took place in the first half of this century, and to data provided by some relatively recent papers and several other sporadic references. Moreover, this knowledge is mainly or exclusively taxonomic. Benthic amphipod dispersal capability is small compared to that of molluscs, decapods or fishes. They have direct development and a reduced swimming capability, and their migrations, both nictemeral and horizontal, cannot compensate these features. This limited dispersal capability determines a clear endemic tendency, and a reduced probability of global fauna mixtures. Therefore, amphipods constitute a fine biological material for biogeographic studies. In order to provide a tool for biogeographical comparisons, the available data on the Azores amphipod fauna were compiled. A review of the available literature and the study of several collections from the Azores, sampled during 1988 and 1989 at the islands of S. Miguel and Faial, provided a list of 122 species from 29 families. Thirty species were identified from the study of the S. Miguel and Faial collections, of which 15 (50%) are new records for the Azores, which emphasizes the existing lack of knowledge. One Ampithoe species might be new, and will be further studied, although it will be necessary to collect more specimens. Additionally, some available ecological data for each species arc given in the present paper.

Affiliations: 1: ) Department of Zoology, University of Coimbra, P-3049 Coimbra Codex, Portugal; 2: ) Centre d'Océanologie de Marseille, UA/CNRS 41, Station Marine d'Endoume, Rue Batterie des Lions, F-13007 Marseille, France


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