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ABSTRACT California has a diverse anostracan fauna of 17 species belonging to 6 genera. This is nearly 40% of all species currently described from North America. Six of these anostracans are endemic to California. This is the highest level of endemism among anostracans for any comparable geographic area in North America. The causes of this high endemism remain unclear except that they probably relate to the factors responsible for the high level of species diversity. Species richness within the state is attributable to the great variety of habitats occurring within the state. The distribution of each species appears to be controlled by geographical and seasonal variations in habitat water chemistry and temperature. Historical and ongoing land use practices have resulted in significant loss of anostracan habitats, particularly in California's Central Valley. As a result of this ongoing habitat loss, several of the state's endemic species may warrant consideration as threatened or endangered species under state and federal endangered species acts. We describe 4 new species, all endemic to California: Branchinecta conservatio, B. longiantenna,B. lynchi, and Streptocephalus woottoni.


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