Evolutionary biogeography of the Microparasellid isopod Microcharon (Crustacea) in the Mediterranean Basin
- Observatoire Océanologique de Banyuls, U.R.A. CNRS 117, Laboratoire Arago, Université P. et M. Curie, Paris 6, Banyuls-sur-Mer, France
The interstitial subterranean isopod Microcharon (Crustacea) is highly diversified within the Mediterranean. The present distribution of 70 species is considered the result of the joint history of this genus and its environment. This stygobiont is derived from marine surface ancestors. Both Plate Tectonics and the two-step model of colonization and evolution, the second phase of which represents vicariance during the Tethys regressions, enable an understanding of the evolutionary history of this monophyletic group. The single extant marine littoral species was separated from its sister group by the closure of the Gibraltar Straits during the Messinian. The drift of the Apulian plate, the Alboran-Kabylian-Calabrian fragment as well as the opening of the western Mediterranean through the translation of the Corsican-Sardinia plate could explain the divergences in the western and the eastern Mediterranean. The primitive sister groups in Morocco and in Spain would have been left by the Turonian Tethys regression. Such regressions of the Tethys embayments could have played a major role in the evolution of the genus from Turanian up to Tortonian in Norht Africa, and up to Pliocene and even to Pleistocene in Italian, Iberian and Greek zones. Several eastern European species may be a product of the Paratethys regressions. Everywhere, species with plesiomorphic characters are related to old regressions and vice versa. Local geological events could have resulted in further vicariance divergences. There is a good congruence between the evolutionary history of Microcharon and other stygobiont isopod, amphipods or syncarids living in the same regions studied in the Mediterranean.
- 1 - sciences appliquees, technologies et medecines
- 2 - sciences biologiques et medicales
- 3 - sciences biologiques fondamentales et appliquees. psychologie
- 4 - invertebres