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Adaptations to the hyporheic in Aloninae (Crustacea: Cladocera): allocation of Alona protzi Hartwig, 1900 and related species to Phreatalona gen. nov.

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Morphological study of Alona protzi Hartwig, 1900, Alona phreatica Dumont, 1983 and Alona smirnovi Petkovski & Flößner, 1972 reveals close affinities with Alona labrosa Vasiljeva & Smirnov, 1969. We separate these four species from the polyphyletic Alona Baird, 1843 (Anomopoda: Chydoridae). United under Phreatalona gen. nov., these taxa share primitive features on the limbs, together with specializations to a rheic life mode. Phreatalona contains some of the only true hyporheic taxa within the Cladocera. Endemism in two ancient lakes (P. smirnovi and P. labrosa) and a preference for river sediments in Europe (P. phreatica and P. protzi) suggest a long isolation from typical littoral/benthic biotopes. We discuss close links with southern vicariant Nicsmirnovius, the position of these (hypo)rheic chydorids within the subfamily and their affinities with Acroperus. We remark an independent evolution of external (habitus, postabdomen) vs. internal (limb) morphology in the protzi-complex. Phreatalona is likely tertiary in origin, evolving from a littoral alonine adapting to rheic and finally hyporheic environments. Baikal endemic P. labrosa is likely the most primitive species of the genus. We discuss adaptations and evolution in the hyporheic and the effect on dispersal and biogeography of Phreatalona.

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Sampling of hyporheic in Belgium and France of A. Brancelj was carried out within the PASCALIS Project, in particular sampling by M-J. Dole-Olivier, C. Boutin, F. Fiers and P. Martin. Our sincere gratitude to Dr Gerald Louette (INBO, Brussels) for his keen observation of protzi in Heerenlaak, Belgium, and sharing the exact locality of the finding, to Dr D. Van Damme for help in sampling and prospecting in Belgium and France and useful comments during the course of this manuscript, Dr Goce Kostoski, Director of Hydrobiological Institute Ohrid, for providing new specimens of smirnovi and Dr Christian Albrecht for help in retrieving these specimens. Thanks also to Dr. D. Floessner and Dr. Charles Oliver Coleman.

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Correspondence to Kay Van Damme.

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Van Damme, K., Brancelj, A. & Dumont, H.J. Adaptations to the hyporheic in Aloninae (Crustacea: Cladocera): allocation of Alona protzi Hartwig, 1900 and related species to Phreatalona gen. nov.. Hydrobiologia 618, 1–34 (2009).

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