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Pattern of Mandibular Morphology in Anostraca With Some Taxonomical Remarks

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Occasional reports on mandibular morphology in some Anostracans by means of optical (Ocioszynska-Bankierowa, 1933; Lynch, 1937; Linder, 1941; Mahoon, 1960; Fryer, 1966) and SEM microscopy (Tyson & Sullivan, 1981; Fryer, 1983; Schrehardt, 1987; Mura, 1991; Mura & Del Caldo, 1992, 1993) posed the question whether this character might be taxonomically relevant. This view was supported by the findings of Edwards (1980) on cladocerans, and of Martin (1988) on conchostracans, thus suggesting to perform a wider inquiry. This SEM study examined the morphology of the molar surfaces in a large number of representatives of the 8 existing Anostraca families, in order to obtain further information. The results are contrasting, and vary depending on the families considered. The observed differences, when present, are detectable only at the genus level and never extend to species, except on rare occasions (for example in the branchinectids). The observations concern both shape and ornamentation (number of teeth and spines at the posterior tips and on the dorsal margins, texture of the transition area, extension of the antero-ventral area, and so on). The most evident variation was expected between non-related genera, but this was shown to be invalid in many cases, and did not depend on the systematic position of the taxa examined. Moreover, even within a family, intergeneric diversity was frequently not observed (like in chirocephalids and branchipodids). Finally, intraspecific variation was also recorded, at least for those species where a great number of specimens was available for study.

Affiliations: 1: Dipartimento di Biologia Animale e dell'Uomo, Universitá "La Sapienza", Viale dell'Universitá, 32, I-00185, Rome, Italy


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