New species of copepod in urinj cave 

Prospekt Fauna, Intresting facts

Photo 1. Cave diver preparing to dive into the pond in Urinj Cave (Photo by J. Bedek, Croatian Biospeleological Society)*


A new species of copepod found in the anchialine Urinj Cave (located in the territory of Kostrena, not far from Rijeka was described in Volume 85 (12-3) 2012 of Crustaceana, a leading journal in the world of crustacean research. Academician, Prof Franjo Kršinić, PhD, the author of the article, described the new species based on speleozoological material retrieved from the 15-metre deep pond in Urinj Cave (the cave contains both seawater and fresh water) by cave divers Branko Jalžić of the Croatian Natural History Museum and the members of the Croatian Biospeleological Society. The new copepod was named in honour of Dr Ruth Böttger-Schnack, a German copepod specialist and has been classified in the genus Stephos. Hence, the scientific name of the “new” copepod is Stephos boettgerschnackae.

Because this is also the first finding of the genus Stephos in the Adriatic Sea, it casts a new light on our understanding of the diffusion of stygobiont copepods in anchialine caves in the Mediterranean. The recently described copepod is less than one millimetre long. Urinj Cave is listed in the National Ecological Network under code #HR3000243 for the conservation of marine cave habitats. As the discovery of this new species makes Urinj Cave a typical habitat (locus typicus), the appropriate attention must be given to its protection.


* Many thanks to Mrs Jana Bedek of the Croatian Biospeleological Society for the photo of Urinj Cave.