Stygobitic Isopoda Aselloidea from Spain, III – The genus Proasellus: B – Anophtalmous species. Study of anophtalmous and unpigmented Proasellus samples, collected in subterranean waters of Spain, mainly by J. Notenboom & I. Meijers (1983, 1984, 1985, 1986), N. Gourbault, F. Lescher-Moutoué & R. Rouch (1976, 1977, 1978) and P. van den Hurk & R. Leys (1985). Description of new species of the ‘beticus-meridianus’ group: P. malagensis n. sp. (Malaga), P. granadensis n. sp. (Granada), P. meijersae n. sp. (Albacete), P. soriensis (Soria), P. oviedensis (Oviedo), and of the ‘ortizi’ group: P. grafi (Santander), P. stocki (Santander), P. alavensis (Alava), P. navarrensis (Navarra), P. vizcayensis (Vizcaya), and P. guipuzcoensis (Guipuzcoa). The first group is mainly present in the Sierra Nevada environment and the Betic region (where remains of its stygophilic root P. beticus still exist), the second in the Vasco-Cantabrian region (where remain some relict populations of its root forms: P. ortizi, p. aragonensis, and P. ebrensis). Iberian species are generally endemic, either from the alluvial aquifer of a river (generally small or minute species), or from the aquifer of a karstic system (generally large epibenthic species). In contrast to all other taxa, P. lescherae is widely scattered in phreatic aquifers of the Ebro basin and adjacent rivers and typical of this large hydrographic system. All species, especially those of the ‘ortizi’ group, are strongly related to those of North Africa and the Aquitanian Basin. These countries together constitute a single biogeographic area. The Iberian Aselloidea fauna is the most interesting and diversified of the Ancient World. It includes a rich background of Stenasellidae species (ancient autochthonous thalassoid stocks, characteristic of the Meseta and Catalonia plates), then occurred the settlement by ‘Atlantic’ Asellidae lineages (Synasellus, Bragasellus), then the settlement by old surface Proasellus species (of Mediterranean origin), that gave birth to bushes of stygobitic taxa and finally the settlement of the recent perimediterranean Proasellus coxalis. But this fauna is still waiting for the settlement by the recent eastern invader Asellus aquaticus, which is currently invading the French Aquitanian Basin.

Asellidae, Proasellus, biogeography, origin of stygobionts, Spanish groundwaters

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Naturalis journals & series

Henry, Jean-Paul, & Magniez, Guy. (2003). Isopodes aselloïdes stygobies d’Espagne, III – Le genre Proasellus: B – espèces anophtalmes. Beaufortia, 53(6), 129–157.