A new family of Asellota (Crustacea, Isopoda) from the deep sea of Zealandia

  • George D.F. Wilson Saugatuck Natural History Laboratory, P O Box 714, Michigan 494653, USA
Keywords: Deep Sea, hard substrates, Hikurangi Plateau, superfamily Janiroidea, phylogenetic analysis


A new family-level taxon of deep-sea isopods, Basoniscus hikurangi gen. et sp. nov., was recovered from the Hikurangi Plateau in the deep sea off eastern New Zealand. The broad-bodied, eyeless, seemingly unremarkable isopod was unusual in its possession of features that characterize two different families: the shallow water Joeropsididae Nordenstam, 1933 and the deep-sea Haploniscidae Hansen, 1916. An analysis of superfamily Janiroidea G.O. Sars, 1897 was conducted to establish the affinities of the species. Multiple analyses were done using unweighted and implied weighted characters. Existing families were well supported, with B. hikurangi intermediate between Joeropsididae and Haploniscidae. The new species, however, cannot be placed in either family owing to its lack of important defining synapomorphies of each family. As a result, Basoniscidae fam. nov. was created to contain this new species. That rocky hard substrates are undersampled is another implication. Our understanding of deep-sea species richness will not be accurate until more efforts are made to survey these habitats, especially more sites in the southern hemisphere. These gaps in our knowledge of the deep sea impairs any general claims about the distribution of biodiversity on a global scale. This find demonstrates that museums hold underused but valuable resources for understanding and describing the biodiversity of the deep sea.


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How to Cite
Wilson, G. D. (2024). A new family of Asellota (Crustacea, Isopoda) from the deep sea of Zealandia. European Journal of Taxonomy, 917(1), 122-151. https://doi.org/10.5852/ejt.2024.917.2393
Research article