Three new cymothoid isopods from the fish parasitic genus Elthusa Schioedte & Meinert, 1884 (Crustacea, Isopoda, Cymothoidae) from South Africa


S van der Wal1; N J Smit1K A Hadfield1
1 North-West University, Potchefstroom, South Africa


The branchial attaching cymothoid genus, Elthusa Schioedte & Meinert, 1884 is widely distributed around the world. There are currently 33 described species from this genus but Elthusa raynaudii Milne Edwards, 1840 is the only species that has been recorded from southern Africa. All South African material held at the National Museum of Natural History, Paris, France (MNHN) and the Iziko South African Museum, Cape Town (SAMC) identified as or appearing to belong to Elthusa was examined.Four species were identified, Elthusa raynaudii and three species that proved to be new to science. Elthusa xena sp. n. can be distinguished by an evenly rounded pereonite 1 anterior margin, a roughly rectangular pleotelson and narrowly rounded uropod apices that extend to more than half the length of the pleotelson. Elthusa acutinasa sp. n. is identified by the produced and narrowly rounded cephalon anterior margin, acute uropods that are shorter than half the length of the pleotelson and pereonite 1 anterior margin with medial projection. Elthusa rotunda sp. n. is characterised by the round body shape, broadly rounded uropod apices and protrusions on the proximal and lateral margins of the merus and carpus of pereopod 7. This brings the total number of Elthusa species to 36 and more than doubles the known records of Elthusa from this region.

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