Freshwater Shrimps (Atyidae, Palaemonidae, Typhlocarididae) in the Broader Mediterranean Region: Distribution, Life Strategies, Threats, Conservation Challenges and Taxonomic Issues

  • Magdalini ChristodoulouEmail author
  • Chryssa Anastasiadou
  • Jure Jugovic
  • Theodoros Tzomos


The turbulent and intricate geology of the Mediterranean region has been responsible for connections, redirections, and interruptions of freshwater systems that have been instrumental in the speciation and distribution of many organisms, including freshwater shrimps. There are 50 species and subspecies currently reported from the freshwater systems of the broader Mediterranean region that belong to 11 genera and three families. Three of these are exotic species that have been introduced to the region’s ecosystems from elsewhere. The majority of species of Mediterranean freshwater shrimps belong to the Atyidae, followed by the Palaemonidae, and the Typhlocarididae, and most species have a very restricted distributional range. Among the three Mediterranean Peninsulas, the Balkan Peninsula fosters the highest biodiversity and is the species hotspot within the region. Subterranean (hypogean) and surface (epigean) habitats of the broader Mediterranean region are equally dwelled by shrimps. Currently 14 native species of freshwater shrimps are assessed by the IUCN Red List as threatened with extinction from increased freshwater ecosystem degradation which underlines the urgent need for conservation action.


Biodiversity Epigean shrimps Europe Middle East North Africa Subterranean shrimps Troglobite 



The authors will like to thank the two editors, Prof. N. Cumberlidge and Dr T. Kawai, for their constructive comments and valuable corrections on the manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Magdalini Christodoulou
    • 1
    Email author
  • Chryssa Anastasiadou
    • 2
  • Jure Jugovic
    • 3
  • Theodoros Tzomos
    • 4
  1. 1.German Centre for Marine Biodiversity ResearchSenckenberg am MeerWilhelmshavenGermany
  2. 2.Department of BiosciencesCentre for Ecological and Evolutionary Synthesis, University of OsloOsloNorway
  3. 3.Faculty of Mathematics, Natural Sciences and Information TechnologiesUniversity of PrimorskaKoperSlovenia
  4. 4.Department of Zoology, School of BiologyAristotle University of ThessalonikiThessalonikiGreece

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