Global diversity of inland water cnidarians
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Global diversity of inland water cnidarians is low, containing <40 species belonging to phylogenetically distinct groups representing independent invasion events: the common and cosmopolitan hydras (12–15 species); the sporadically occurring freshwater medusae (6–16 sp.); the Cordylophorinae (2 sp.); the parasitic Polypodium (1 sp.); the medusae occurring in saline lakes (4 sp.). Freshwater cnidarians inhabit nearly all types of freshwater on all continents (except Antarctica), but only a few species have cosmopolitan distributions. Due to uncertainty in species knowledge, fine scale regions of endemicity are not yet clear.
KeywordsHydra Polypodium Cordylophora Craspedacusta Distribution Species diversity Freshwater cnidarian
This work was partly funded by the Swiss Federal Office of Education and Science within the framework of the European Union Environment and Climate projects CLIME (EVK1-CT-2002-00121) and Eurolimpacs (GOCE-CT-2003-505540).
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