Marine amphipods belonging to parvorder Oedicerotidira comprise greater than 300 species distributed around the world. The parvorver is divided into three families (Exoedicerotidae, Oedicerotidae, and Paracalliopiidae) based on distinct morphological characteristics. Amphipods in the family Oedicerotidae typically burrow or furrow into sand and are an important food source for fish and other invertebrates. Other ecosystem services provided by burrowing amphipods include nutrient recycling and sediment turnover. The Caribbean waters of Panama are expected to be highly diverse, yet, prior to this study, only one species in the Oedicerotidira had been documented from Bocas del Toro, Panama: Aceroides (Patoides) synparis (Barnard, 1964) at a depth of 850 meters. We hypothesize that there will more species in the parvorder in the Caribbean waters of Panama. Collection of shallow sand in Bocas del Toro in 2021 revealed two more species in the parvorder: Hartmanodes nyei (Shoemaker, 1933) and Synchelidium sp. nov. Specimens were examined for morphological differences and are described herein. The functional morphology of amphipod species will be used to determine their roles within the ecosystem. Once documented, certain species can be used as bioindicators to observe the underlying factors causing population fluctuations. Oedicerotid amphipods might especially be useful for understanding sediment toxicity patterns.


GCSU Department of Biological and Environmental Sciences

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