, Volume 167-168, Issue 1, pp 485-495

Gelyelloida, a new order of stygobiont copepods from European karstic systems

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Abstract

A new order, Gelyelloida, is proposed for Gelyella Rouch & Lescher-Moutoué, 1977 (ex Harpacticoida), an enigmatic genus of freshwater-inhabiting copepod from European karstic systems. The new order is characterized by a unique combination of generalised gnathostomous mouth parts and unusual derived features, some of them suggesting a possible neotenic origin for the order. It is suggested that gelyellids have had a long evolutionary history and separated as an early offshoot of the main cyclopoid lineage.