Theses and Dissertations

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Defense Date

12-2005

Document Type

Thesis - NSU Access Only

Degree Name

M.S. Marine Biology

Department

Oceanographic Center

First Advisor

James D. Thomas

Second Advisor

Charles G. Messing

Third Advisor

Richard W. Heard

Abstract

Endocommensal leucothoid amphipods are ecologically important in marine ecosystems worldwide. However, our understanding of the evolution and taxonomy of the group is confused. Although leucothoids typically occupy specialized niches, Leucothoe spinicarpa, the type species for the genus Leucothoe, has been reported from a wide variety of habitats. This study compared the taxonomy, ecology, and functional morphology of Caribbean commensal amphipods previously attributed to L. spinicarpa and incorporated new host and ecological information and new diagnostic characters. As a result 11 new leucothoid species are described from Southeast Florida, the Florida Keys, and the Western Caribbean Sea.

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