The pantropical genus Palaemonella Dana, 1852 (Caridea: Palaemonidae) currently includes 27 species of free-living and symbiotic marine shrimps. The monophyly of Palaemonella with respect to several closely related genera, however, has been questioned by recent analyses. We tested the monophyly of Palaemonella based on multigene phylogenetic analysis and the genus was revealed to be a paraphyletic assemblage by inclusion of species of the genera Eupontonia Bruce, 1971 and Vir Holthuis, 1952, and two genetic lineages of the western Atlantic Cuapetes americanus (Kingsley, 1878). We recognise one of the latter lineages as the previously described Periclimenes rhizophorae Lebour, 1949. Eupontonia and Vir are synonymised with Palaemonella. We also transfer Cuapetes americanus and Periclimenes rhizophorae to Palaemonella. Species previously assigned to Vir were revised; V. colemani Bruce, 2003, V. orientalis (Dana, 1852), V. philippinensis Bruce & Svoboda, 1984 and V. smiti Fransen & Holthuis, 2007 are regarded as valid species of Palaemonella; Vir longidactylus Marin, 2008 is synonymised with P. smiti; and the status of V. euphyllius Marin & Anker, 2005 remains unresolved. Palaemonella is currently regarded as a taxon with variable states of two main diagnostic characters, i.e. the plesiomorphic mandibular palp (fully reduced in P. americana) and the hepatic tooth (fully reduced in former species of Vir and Eupontonia – evidently due to symbiotic modes of life).

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Invertebrate Systematics
Staff publications

Frolová, Pavlína, van der Veer, E., Fransen, C., & Ďuriš, Zdeněk. (2024). A review of Palaemonella (Decapoda: Caridea: Palaemonidae), with clarification of the taxonomic status of Cuapetes americanus, Eupontonia and Vir. Invertebrate Systematics, 38(4). doi:10.1071/is23055

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