Taxonomy and biogeography of Niphargus steueri (Crustacea: Amphipoda)


Niphargus steueri (Niphargidae) comprises a complex of four subspecies (N. s. steueri, N. s. kolombatovici, N. s. subtypicus, and N. s. liburnicus), the morphology and distribution of which have been poorly known until now. New diagnostic characters of the species and its four subspecies are presented and illustrated. The species is distributed along the major part of the Dinaric Karst, between Slovenia in the northwest and Bosnia and Herzegovina in the southeast. The distribution of the four subspecies approximately resembles the distribution of the evolutionary lineages of the subterranean amphibian Proteus anguinus and the Dinaric lineage of the cave shrimp Troglocaris agg. anophthalmus. Niphargus s. steueri is restricted to the Istran Peninsula; N. s. subtypicus is distributed in southeast Slovenia and northwest Croatia; N. s. liburnicus is known from two disjunctive localities, one on the island of Krk (Croatia) and the other in Gorizia (Italy); and N. s. kolombatovici is restricted to Dalmacija and Herzegovina. The somewhat variable putative synapomorphies of N. steueri probably suggest that the group is old and that the present distribution pattern is a result of historical events, possibly events in the Miocene Dinaride Lake system. Two populations of N. s. kolombatovici and one population of N. s. subtypicus deviate from the general distributional pattern and may belong to cryptic taxa that cannot be distinguished on the basis of morphology. Both hypotheses corroborate with the estimated times of divergence and with the number of independent lineages in the similarly distributed but unrelated stygobionts Proteus and Troglocaris.

DOI: 10.1007/s10201-007-0221-5

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@article{Fier2007TaxonomyAB, title={Taxonomy and biogeography of Niphargus steueri (Crustacea: Amphipoda)}, author={Cene Fi{\vs}er and Valerija Zak{\vs}ek and Maja Zagmajster and Boris {\vS}ket}, journal={Limnology}, year={2007}, volume={8}, pages={297-309} }