• New anchialine faunal discoveries from the Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Continued subterranean exploration continues to uncover animals new to science
  • Subterranean connectivity suggested for Turks and Caicos Islands
  • Lucayan archipelago remains a biodiversity hotspot for anchialine fauna


Lying at the southernmost point of the Lucayan Archipelago, the Turks and Caicos Islands are amongst the better studied localities for anchialine cave biodiversity. For nearly five decades, novel invertebrate fauna, comprised primarily of crustaceans, have been collected from these tidally influenced pools – but new findings are always on the horizon. Herein we present new records of crustaceans and annelids from anchialine blue holes and horizontal caves of the Turks and Caicos. These findings include two potentially new species of meiofaunal annelids and a new species of remipede collected from a shallow water cave pool. Our 2019 expedition additionally expands known faunal distributions for several taxa across the Caicos islands, and raises the biodiversity of the region to 35 species, 13 of them considered endemic. This is the first comprehensive faunal list for the anchialine systems in the Caicos Bank.



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Supplemental Table.pdf (262 kB)
Supplemental Table. Known anchialine fauna of the Turks and Caicos Islands. Details for each species includes year it was first collected, habitat and its classification as stygobitic or endemic. Additional information is provided for each species, including affinities, congeners and the localities for which it is known among the Turks and Caicos. References for each species are provided. Plus (+) signs indicates presence or collection.