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Phylogenetic relationships between the known genera of the order Misophrioida permit the identification of two lineages: one consisting of the family Misophriidae Brady, 1878 which comprises seven genera, and a new, monotypic family, the Palpophriidae Boxshall & Jaume, 1999; the other consisting of another new family, the Speleophriidae Boxshall & Jaume, 1999, comprising eight genera. Habitat exploitation by these families is discussed: members of the Misophriidae are primarily hyperbenthic, those of the Palpophriidae and Speleophriidae are primarily cavernicolous in anchialine habitats. The occurrence of misophriids in littoral and submarine caves is interpreted as evidence of a relatively recent landward extension of the habitat range in this family, from a shallow-water hyperbenthic ancestor. The distribution of speleophriids in anchialine caves is interpreted as resulting from a colonization episode prior to the closure of the Tethys Sea. The analysis also indicates that deep-water forms may represent a secondary colonization rather than an indication of deep-water ancestry for the entire order.

El estudio de las relaciones filogeneticas entre los distintos generos pertenecientes al orden Misophrioida ha permitido la identificacion de dos linajes principales: uno compuesto por la familia Misophriidae Brady, 1878, integrada por siete generos, y una familia nueva, Palpophriidae Boxshall & Jaume, 1999; el otro, integrado por otra nueva familia, Speleophriidae Boxshall & Jaume, 1999, compuesta por ocho generos. Se discute la explotacion que del habitat hacen estas familias: los Misophriidae son primariamente hiperbenticos, mientras que Palpophriidae y Speleophriidae son cavernicolas en medio anquialino. La presencia de misofriidos en cuevas litorales y submarinas es interpretado como evidencia de una relativamente reciente extension tierra adentro del habitat ordinario de esta familia, a partir de un ancestro hiperbentico propio de aguas someras. La distribucion de los espeleofriidos en cuevas anquialinas es interpretada como resultado de un episodio de colonizacion anterior a la oclusion del mar de Tetis. El analisis indica tambien que las formas de aguas profundas representan una colonizacion secundaria mas que indicacion de un ancestro de aguas profundas para el orden entero.

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