, Volume 576, Issue 1, pp 103–109 | Cite as

On the ecology of Caecidotea williamsi Escobar-Briones & Alcocer (Crustacea: Isopoda: Asellidae) from Alchichica saline lake, Central Mexico

  • Javier Alcocer
  • Elva Escobar-Briones
Saline Water


Caecidotea williamsi Escobar-Briones & Alcocer (2002) is the first asellid described from a saline aquatic habitat in America, Alchichica crater-lake, Puebla, Central Mexico. No previous reports exist for asellid isopods from inland saline waters in America in spite of the extensive research undertaken so far on the continent. Differing from other asellids, C. williamsi inhabits saline waters (i.e. 8.5 g l−1) dominated by sodium, magnesium, chloride, and bicarbonate ions and markedly alkaline (pH 9.0 ± 0.1). Water temperature ranges from 14.5°C throughout the water column in winter and in the deep waters for the rest of the year, up to 20°C in the surface waters in summer. C. williamsi occurs in a depth range of surface to 30 m (lake’s maximum depth is 64 m), below which an anoxic layer is found during 9 months of the year. Generally it lives cryptically in tufa crevices and at shallower depths many inhabit empty trichopteran cases embedded within the tufa crevices. Some specimens are heavily covered by epizooic ciliates on the thoracic and abdominal segments of the exoskeleton and the pleopods. Data are presented on the diet, possible predators, saprobity and trophism, and regional distribution of C. williamsi. The continued survival of this unique isopod is threatened by anthropogenic desiccation of its habitat.


Peracarida Tropical lake Soda-alkaline lake Deep lake Tufa Benthos Stromatolites 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Proyecto de Investigación en Limnología Tropical, FES IztacalaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoLos Reyes IztacalaMexico
  2. 2.Unidad Académica Sistemas Oceanográficos y Costeros, Instituto de Ciencias del Mar y LimnologíaUniversidad Nacional Autónoma de MéxicoMexico CityMexico

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