Amphipods are peracarid crustaceans widespread on the Planet and very common in surface, marine, brackish and fresh waters, and in a wide range of groundwater environments. A few gammaridean amphipods are semiterrestrial, living in moist forest leaf litter or on sandy beaches.

The order comprises about 6700 species, distributed among three (Gammaridea, Caprellidea, Hyperiidea) or four (Gammaridea, Caprellidea, Hyperiidea, Ingolfiellidea) suborders, according to Holsinger (1994) and Stock (1986) respectively.

Approximately 35 families and 133 genera include subterranean, mostly stygobitic, amphipods, and this number rapidly increases following new discoveries in different groundwater habitats of the World.

The suborder Gammaridea, and the families Niphargidae, Hadziidae s.l., Bogidiellidae and Gammaridae include the majority of stygobitic taxa, the remaining families contain fewer, in many cases one-two, genera.

Amphipods of the italian stygofauna include 12 genera, viz. Niphargus, embracing the greater part of the known species and subspecies of the italian amphipods, Pseudoniphargus, Salentinella, Ingolfiella, Metaingolfiella, Bogidiella, Aurobogidiella, Ilvanella, Rhipidogammarus, Tyrrhenogammarus, Hadzia and Carinurella, and 62 species and subspecies. Some species of the genera Sinurella and Neogammarus can be found in the ecotonic transition zone between surface and ground waters, but they do not show stygobitic adaptation features.

A remarkable number of taxa are endemic to Italy, viz the family Metaingolfiellidae, with the monotypic genus Metaingolfiella, the genera Aurobogidiella, Ilvanella and Tyrrhenogammarus, and about 40 species and subspecies belonging to the genera Niphargus and Bogidiella.

Stygobitic amphipods of Italy invaded subterranean waters from both freshwater and marine environments, involving active and passsive dispersal. Several genera (Bogidiella, Aurobogidiella, Salentinella, Hadzia, Pseudoniphargus, Rhipidogammarus, Tyrrhenogammarus and Ingolfiella) colonized the groundwater habitat directly from the sea; the genus Ilvanella probably reached the continental ground waters from epigean fresh water bodies; the species Niphargus elegans, which lives both in surface and ground waters, colonized the former habitat from underground waters; for the other genera, Niphargus and Carinurella, the origin and the subterranean waters colonization are uncertain; maybe they reached the continental groundwater systems directly from the sea (Tertiary, Parathetys) or, according to Ruffo (1982), from the tertiary Parathetys they colonized firstly the epigean and successively the continental ground waters of Italy.

As regards the age of colonization, some species of the genera Bogidiella, Salentinella, Riphidogammarus and Pseudoniphargus, due to their high degree of salinity tolerance, are to be considered recent immigrants of continental subterranean waters; other ones, such as the species of the genera Hadzia, Ingolfiella,Tyrrhenogammarus and some Bogidiella colonized the italian ground waters in rather ancient age. The remarkable genus Metaingolfiella, which occupies an isolated systematic position among the amphipods, most probably is the most ancient amphipod taxon living in the italian ground waters. The genera Niphargus and Carinurella started their colonization from the tertiary Paratethys, during different ages.

Finally, as regards the ecology, several italian amphipods can be related to the ground water quality: in fact, numerous species, for the most part belonging to the genus Niphargus, show a high sensitivity to the water pollution, as well as they rarefy or disappear when the ground waters are polluted.



Checklist


Genus Niphargus

Niphargus aberrans Sket 1972 (1)
Niphargus ambulator G.Karaman 1975 (1) *
Niphargus aquilex Schiödte 1855 (1,3,4)
Niphargus arbiter G.Karaman 1984 (1)
Niphargus armatus G.Karaman 1985 (1) *
Niphargus bajuvaricus grandii Ruffo 1937 (1)
Niphargus bihorensis Schellenber 1940 (1)
Niphargus bodoni G.Karaman 1985 (3) *
Niphargus canui G.Karaman 1976 (1) *
Niphargus costozzae Schellenberg, 1935 (1) *
Niphargus danconai Benedetti 1942 (1) *
Niphargus dolenianensis Lorenzi, 1898 1) *
Niphargus duplus G.Karaman 1976 (1) *
Niphargus elegans Garbini 1894 (1,3)
Niphargus forelii Humbert 1876 (1)
Niphargus galvagnii galvagnii Ruffo 1953 (1) *
Niphargus galvagnii similis G.Karaman & Ruffo 1989 (1) *
Niphargus ictus G.Karaman 1985 (3) *
Niphargus italicus G.Karaman 1976 (1) *
Niphargus julius Stoch, 1997 (1) *
Niphargus krameri Schellenberg 1935 (1)
Niphargus lessinensis Stoch, 1998 (1) *
Niphargus longicaudatus (Costa 1851) (1,2,3,4,5)
Niphargus longidactylus Ruffo 1937 (1)
Niphargus messanai G.Karaman 1989 (3) *
Niphargus microcerberus Sket 1972 (1)
Niphargus montellianus Stoch, 1998 (1) *
Niphargus orcinus Joseph 1869 (1) (on background)
Niphargus parenzani Ruffo & Vigna Taglianti 1968 (3) *
Niphargus pasquinii pasquinii Vigna Taglianti 1966 (3) *
Niphargus pasquinii sodalis G.Karaman 1984 (3) *
Niphargus patrizi Ruffo & Vigna Taglianti 1968 (3) *
Niphargus pedemontanus Ruffo, 1937 (1) *
Niphargus pescei G.Karaman 1984 (3) *
Niphargus poianoi G.Karaman 1988 (3) *
Niphargus pupetta (Sket 1962) (1)
Niphargus puteanus (Koch 1836) (1,3)
Niphargus rhenorhodanensis Schellenberg 1937 (1,3)
Niphargus ruffoi G.Karaman 1976 (1) *
Niphargus spinuliferum S.Karaman 1954 (1)
Niphargus spoeckeri sibillinianus G.Karaman 1984 (3) *
Niphargus stefanellii Ruffo & Vigna Taglianti 1967 (2,3) *
Niphargus steueri liburnicus G.Karaman & Sket 1989 (1)
Niphargus stochi G.Karaman (in press) (1)
Niphargus strouhali alpinus G.Karaman & Ruffo 1989 (1) *
Niphargus stygius (Schiödte 1847) (1)
Niphargus tamaninii tamaninii Ruffo 1953 (1) *
Niphargus tamaninii barbatus G.Karaman 1985 (1) *
Niphargus timavi S. Karaman 1954 (1)
Niphargus transitivus transitivus Sket 1971 (1) *
Niphargus transitivus dissonus G.Karaman 1984 (1) *
Niphargus tridentinus Stoch, 1998 (1) *

Genus Pseudoniphargus

Pseudoniphargus adriaticus S.Karaman 1955 (3,4,5)
Pseudoniphargus africanus italicus G.Karaman & Ruffo 1989 (5) *
Pseudoniphargus inconditus G. Karaman & Ruffo 1989 (5) *
Pseudoniphargus sodalis G.Karaman & Ruffo 1989 (5) *

Genus Metacrangonyx

Metacrangonyx ilvanus Stoch 1997 (Elba Island) *

Genus Bogidiella
sub.gen. Bogidiella

Bogidiella (Bogidiella) albertimagni Hertzog 1933 (1)
Bogidiella (Bogidiella) aprutina Pesce 1980 (3) *
Bogidiella (Bogidiella) calicali G.Karaman 1988 (2) *
Bogidiella (Bogidiella) ichnusae Ruffo & Vigna Taglianti 1975 (2) *
Bogidiella (Bogidiella) silverii Pesce 1981 (2) *
Bogidiella (Bogidiella) vandeli Coineau 1968 (2) *

sub.gen. Medigidiella

Bogidiella (Medigidiella) chappuisi chappuisi Ruffo 1952 (2,3,4)
Bogidiella (Medigidiella) chappuisi pescei G.Karaman 1989 (2) *
Bogidiella (Medigidiella) paraichnusae G.Karaman 1979 (3) *

Genus Aurobogidiella

Aurobogidiella italica G.Karaman 1979 (3) *

Genus Salentinella

Salentinella angelieri Delamare Deboutteville & Ruffo 1952 (1,2,3,4)
Salentinella gracillima Ruffo 1947 (4) *
Salentinella sp. (Varano lagoon, Foggia, south Italy)

Genus Hadzia

Hadzia adriatica Pesce 1979 (4) *
Hadzia fragilis stochi G.Karaman 1989 (1) *
Hadzia minuta Ruffo 1947 (4) *

Genus Ilvanella

Ilvanella inexpectata Vigna Taglianti 1971 (2,3) *

Genus Rhipidogammarus

Rhipidogammarus karamani Stock 1971 (3,4,5)
Rhipidogammarus rhipidiophorus (Catta 1878) (1,2,3,4,5)

Genus Tyrrhenogammarus

Tyrrhenogammarus catacumbae (G.Karaman & Ruffo 1977) (5) *
Tyrrhenogammarus sardous G.Karaman & Ruffo 1989 (2) *

Genus Carinurella

Carinurella paradoxa (Sket 1964) (1)

Genus Ingolfiella
sub.gen.
Tyrrhenidiella

Ingolfiella (Tyrrhenidiella) cottarellii Ruffo & Vigna Taglianti 1989 (2) *

Genus Metaingolfiella

Metaingolfiella mirabilis Ruffo 1969 (4) *

Genus Longigammarus

Longigammarus planasiae Messana & Ruffo, 2001 (2) *



[Numbers between brackets according to the stygofaunal provinces of Italy]
[ Endemisms marked with an asterisk]




Literature

A selected World bibliography on subterranean amphipods can be found in: Stock J. H. (1984). Amphipoda: Gammarid grouping (Gammaridae s.str. sensu Bousfield). Stygofauna Mundi: 497-503; Stock J. H. (1984). Amphipoda: Melitid grouping (Melitidae sensu Bousfield, 1973, emend.). Stygofauna Mundi: 504-513; Karaman G. S. & S. Ruffo. (1984). Amphipoda: Niphargus-group (Niphargidae sensu Bousfield, 1982). Stygofauna Mundi: 514-534; Holsinger J. R. (1984). Holarctic Crangonyctid amphipods. Stygofauna Mundi: 535-549; Ruffo S. (1984). Amphipoda: groupe Metacrangonyx. Stygofauna Mundi: 550-552; Williams W. D. (1984). Amphipoda on land-masses derived from Gondwana. Stygofauna Mundi: 553-559; Stock J. H. (1984). Amphipoda: Pleustidae. Stygofauna Mundi: 560-561; Stock J. H. (1984). Amphipoda: Phoxocephalidae. Stygofauna Mundi: 562; Stock J. H. (1984). Amphipoda: Liljeborgiidae. Stygofauna Mundi: 563; Ruffo S. (1984). Amphipoda: Salentinellidae. Stygofauna Mundi: 564-566; Stock J. H. (1984). Amphipoda:Pardaliscidae. Stygofauna Mundi: 567; Holsinger J. R. (1984). Amphipoda: Sebidae. Stygofauna Mundi: 568-569; Stock J. H. (1984). Amphipoda: Aoridae. Stygofauna Mundi: 570; Ruffo S. (1984). Amphipoda: Talitroidea. Stygofauna Mundi: 571-573; Coineau N. & J. H. Stock (1984). Amphipoda:Bogidiellidae. Stygofauna Mundi: 574-580; Stock J. H. (1984). Amphipoda: Ingolfiellidae. Stygofauna Mundi: 581-584; Holsinger J. R.(1994). Amphipoda. Encyclopaedia Biospeologica. Societè de Biospéologie, Moulis, Bucarest: 147-163.

A comprehensive, detailed list of italian freshwater amphipods, with emphasis to the groundwater taxa, can be found in:
G. S. Karaman (1993). Fauna d'Italia. Crustacea Amphipoda.


Other URLS with Amphipods Information

  • Morphology and Systematics
  • Amphipod General Biology
  • Key to the suborders
  • J.R.Holsinger Home Page
  • Stygobiont Crustaceans; phylogeny and biogeography of ground water amphipods and isopods
  • Gammarids from Lake Baikal
  • wim Vader Home Page
  • Amphipods from Sothern Australia
  • Anchialine Fauna of the Bahamas




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