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The historical discovery and the successive stages in our knowledge of the family Stenasellidae Dudich, 1924, are described. Their morphological features; the diagnosis of the family, and an updated list of its genera with the respective numbers of their taxa and their main characteristics are given. Also, the biogeography and the ecology of the group and relations between burrowing behaviour and general adaptation to life in all types of continental underground waters, are discussed. Next, the putative evolutionary history of the family is presented, taking into account the active dispersal of these isopods and also the role of Quaternary events: the development of aridity in the northern tropical zone and the occurrence of glaciations in the temperate zones of the Northern Hemisphere. Their general biological adaptation to the absence of circadian stimuli is examined vis-a-vis the fact that biological rhythms are synchronized with the annual flooding events in the subterranean environment.

Decouverte historique et progres successifs de la connaissance de la famille des Stenasellidae Dudich, 1924. Caracteres morphologiques originaux; diagnose de la famille; liste mise a jour des genres, nombre de leurs taxons et principales caracteristiques. Biogeographie et ecologie du groupe; relations entre le comportement fouisseur et l'adaptation a la vie dans tous les types de milieux des eaux souterraines continentales. Histoire evolutive presumee de la famille, tenant compte de la capacite d'expansion active de ces Isopodes et du role des evenements quaternaires: developpement du climat aride dans la zone nord-tropicale et intervention des glaciations dans les zones temperees de l'hemisphere nord. Adaptation generale des processus biologiques a l'absence de stimuli externes circadiens, ces processus etant rythmes par la pulsation annuelle du flux des eaux dans l'environnement souterrain, qui joue le role d'un stimulus circannien.


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