oa Annals of the Natal Museum - A note on the taxonomy and distribution of Triops Schrank (Crustacea: Branchipoda: Notostraca) in southern Africa

Volume 36, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0304-0798



It is currently accepted that Notostraca are represented in southern Africa by a single species, Triops granarius (Lucas). The collection of an exceptionally large female Triops (total length 57.7mm) from the northern Cape in 1988 prompted a re-examination of Triops material. Much variation (both intra- and inter-population) in the key taxonomic character of telsonic spine arrangement, was evident. Examination of the type material of Apus (T.) ovamboensis Barnard, conformed that ovamboensis is a synonym of T. cancriformis (Bosc), establishing that both T. granarius and T. cancriformis occur in southern Africa. The large specimen shares some characters with Apus (T.) trachyaspis Sars (a synonym of T. granarius). A number of samples from north-eastern Natal could not be identified, even if the criteria for T. granarius were broadened. The exceptional size of the northern Cape specimen could be a result of episodic flooding in March 1988, which may have influenced the hatching of a genetically distinct population of Triops or simply provided a habitat conducive to exceptional growth in T. granarius. There is a need for more detailed studies on the systematics of Triops,and on the morphological variation in key taxonomic characters. Habitat data and specimen measurements are presented for seventeen new localities.

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