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ABSTRACT Populations of Artemia from the north coast of the Yucatan Peninsula show significant differences in a variety of morphological characters. The morphology of individuals from 4 locations of Yucatan salterns were compared with Artemia franciscana from San Francisco Bay, California, and Great Salt Lake, Utah. Cyst diameter, naupliar size, adult size, male clasper knobs, and male and female genitalia were measured using light and scanning electron microscopy. We performed canonical discriminant analysis on the characters of the male clasper knobs, and male and female genitalia. Three main morphological patterns among the Yucatan populations emerged: (1) A. franciscana-like morphology with spherical and subspherical male antennal knobs, with multiple spines on the knob, and a female brood pouch with lateral triangular lobes and a pair of regular frontal spines, (2) Subconical male knob with a dominance of single spines, females with round to ellipsoidal brood pouch with lateral prominent pointed lobes, and a pair of large frontal spines, and (3) Small spherical male knob with a dominance of single spines, wide female ellipsoidal brood pouch with total absence of lateral lobes, and a pair of small frontal spines. Numerical and categorical characters of the female brood pouch are critical discriminating characteristics in populations of Artemia. Overall size of the brood pouch and development of the lateral process and frontal spines clearly distinguish populations. Morphological and physiological differences between the North American and Yucatan populations suggest that the Yucatan populations may be one or more distinct species, genetically distinct and ecologically separated from the North American species and from each other by habitat differences.


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