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The freshwater medusae of the world – a taxonomic and systematic literature study with some remarks on other inland water jellyfish

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Several medusa species have been described from inland waters in Australia, Eurasia, Africa and America. The chief objective of this study is to summarize all species described from freshwater and from saline lakes, because the knowledge about this group is sparse and scattered in the literature. I summarize all accessible literature to deduct how many species of freshwater medusae exist and to show their distribution, relation and their phylogenetic origin.

All medusae described from freshwater except Halmomises are Olindiidae (Limnomedusae). More than 20 Olindiidae species (in 6 genera) have been recorded from freshwater. However, about half of them may not be valid species or have been described insufficiently or improperly. Within the genera Craspedacusta only 3 (or 5) species are certain (C. sowerbii, C. iseanum, C. sinensis (and maybe C. sichuanensis and C. ziguiensis)). The genera Limnocnida may consist of 6 species, three from Africa (L. tanganjicae, L. victoriae, L. congoensis) and 3 from India (L. indica, L. biharensis, L. nepalensis). The status of Astrohydra (from Japan), Mansariella and Keralika (both from India) is uncertain. Additionally, the present study suggests that Craspedacusta and at least one type of Calpasoma hydrants are identical and Astrohydra may be closely related to Craspedacusta and/or Calpasoma.

A comparison of the freshwater medusae with species described from saline lakes and brackish sites (Australomedusae from Australia and Moerisia from Egypt, Black Sea, Caspian Sea and Ganges Estuary) shows that these two groups are not closely related.

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Jankowski, T. The freshwater medusae of the world – a taxonomic and systematic literature study with some remarks on other inland water jellyfish. Hydrobiologia 462, 91–113 (2001). https://doi.org/10.1023/A:1013126015171

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  • freshwater jellyfish
  • medusa
  • Craspedacusta
  • limnocnida
  • Cnidaria
  • Hydrozoa
  • systematic
  • taxonomy