Synalpheus belizensis, Anker, Arthur & Tóth, Eva, 2008

Anker, Arthur & Tóth, Eva, 2008, A preliminary revision of the Synalpheus paraneptunus Coutière, 1909 species complex (Crustacea: Decapoda: Alpheidae), Zootaxa 1915, pp. 1-28: 19-24

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.184596

persistent identifier

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scientific name

Synalpheus belizensis

n. sp.

Synalpheus belizensis  n. sp.

( Figs. 12View FIGURE 12, 13View FIGURE 13, 14View FIGURE 14 I)

(?) Zuzalpheus paraneptunus  (not Coutière, 1909) – Ríos and Duffy, 2007: 55, pl. 4.

Type material. Belize. Holotype, breeding female, USNM 1116695, Carrie Bow Cay, depth ~ 12 m, in cryptic sponge among rubble, coll. E. Tóth, 10 Oct 2005 [05- 194, photo voucher]. Paratype: 1 male, USNM 1116696, same collection data as holotype [05- 195].

Diagnosis. Rostrum not lower than orbital hoods, rather broad at base, not particularly slender, subequal to orbital teeth, with subacute tip; orbital teeth triangular, broad at base, subacute; both rostrum and orbital teeth slightly up-turned distally; notches between orbital teeth and rostrum moderately deep, between V- and U-shaped. Antennular peduncles with second segment distinctly longer than wide; stylocerite overreaching distal margin of first segment. Antenna with basicerite bearing blunt, almost non-projecting distodorsal tooth; scaphocerite without blade. Third maxilliped with crown of eight-nine spine-like setae on tip of ultimate segment. Major chela with palm about 2.5 times as long as fingers; distodorsal tooth on palm not bulging, with anteriorly directed acute point. Second pereiopod carpus with five segments, first carpal segment about four times length of second. Third pereiopod with propodus bearing nine spine-like setae (not including distal pair); dactylus stout. Uropodal exopod with two fixed teeth (including lateral tooth of diaeresis) and slender movable spine-like seta. Telson with longitudinal median depression and two pairs of moderately stout spine-like setae inserted anterior and posterior to mid-length, respectively; posterior margin broad, about half-length of anterior width, slightly rounded (see Figs. 10View FIGURE 10, 11View FIGURE 11). For detailed description of general features of S. paraneptunus  species complex see Dardeau (1984) and Ríos & Duffy (2007).

Etymology. The name of this new species obviously refers to the country of the type locality (Carrie Bow Cay), the Republic of Belize.

Colour pattern. Whitish semitransparent, with a few reddish chromatophores on abdomen; major chela pale beige, distal margin of palm and fingers pale orange-brown (except for pale area surrounded by darker margin on dactylus), tips amber-yellow; ovaries or fresh brood bright yellow-orange ( Fig. 14View FIGURE 14 I).

Size. Male, CL 4.3 mm; breeding female, CL 5.3 mm.

Type locality. Carrie Bow Cay, Belize.

Distribution. Presently known only from Belize.

Life history. This species probably occurs in pairs in cryptic sponges (possibly Calyx podatipa  ) growing among coral rubble.

Remarks. Synalpheus belizensis  n. sp. is closely related to S. bocas  n. sp., differing from the latter species mainly by the presence of a more or less developed (but apparently always present) blade on the antennal scaphocerite (always absent in S. bocas  n. sp.) ( Fig. 12View FIGURE 12 A), and by the less stout dorsal spine-like setae on the telson ( Fig. 12View FIGURE 12 G). In life, the two species can be separated by the colour of ovaries (or eggs / fresh embryos): bright yellow in S. belizensis  n. sp., vs. green in S. bocas  n. sp. ( Fig. 14View FIGURE 14 F –I). Synalpheus belizensis  can be separated from S. paraneptunus  , S. duffyi  n. sp., S. riosi  n. sp., and S. brevidactylus  n. sp. by the same combination of characters as S. bocas  n. sp. (see above and Table 1).

The male paratype of S. belizensis  n. sp. ( Fig. 12View FIGURE 12 H) was collected from the same sponge as the female holotype. It has a somewhat aberrant frontal margin, and in addition, differs from the female by the somewhat longer orbital teeth; the scaphocerite with a very short blade; and the slightly more elongate second segment of the antennular peduncle. These differences are here considered to be intraspecific, however, more specimens are needed to show full range of variation in this species.

Ríos & Duffy’s (2007) record of S. paraneptunus  from Carrie Bow Cays is tentatively listed under this species based on the colour photograph of a female with bright yellow embryos (see Ríos & Duffy, 2007, pl. 4).


Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History