Gnathophausia longispina G. O. Sars, 1884

Common name(s): 

Phylum Arthropoda
 Subphylum Crustacea
  Class Malacostraca
   Subclass Eumalacostraca
    Superorder Peracarida
     Order Lophogastrida
Gnathophausia longispina in a petri dish.  Captured in midwater off Oahu, HI
(Photo by: Jim Childress, 1993)
Description:  (Genus Gnathophausia):Carapace well-developed, anterior margin has spines.  Rostrum elongated, triangular in cross-section.  Exopod of uropod is divided by a suture near the apex. Antennal scale large, with a distinctly isolated distal part separated from the proximal part by a more or less well-developed articulation. Distal end of antennal scale smooth, with 1 large spine on the external margin.  Dactyls of thoracopods 3-8 widened, lanceolate, with 3 spines only on the distal part of the inner margin and 1 spine in the middle of the inner margin. Pleural plates of the sixth abdominal segment not knitted together ventrally. G. longispina:   Keel along ventrolateral margin of carapace curves dorsally as it approaches the posterior end of the carapace.  There is no spine at the posteroventral margin of the carapace (that margin is rounded).  The mid-dorsalkeel of the carapace is not interrupted nor serrated, and continues out onto the rostrum.  No spines on the mid-dorsalkeel of the abdominal segments, or only small, posteriorly-directed spines.  Two spines on each side of the anterior pleura of the sixth abdominal segment.  Antennal spine missing or very small.  Large, triangular and pointed branchiostegal spine.  Spine on antennal scale projects well beyond the end of the scale and is serrated on both sides.  Rostrum up to 70% of the body length. Pleural plates of sixth abdominal segment have two lobes--anteroventral and posteroventral.  The last (sometimes called seventh) abdominal segment has a well-developed spine which is associated with the base of the telson.  Body length (to orbit) up to at least 5 cm.

How to Distinguish from Similar Species:  This species is most similar to G. zoea, which has a similar structure on the antennal scale, a similar pattern of keels on the carapace, and similarly structured abdominal segments.  However, G. zoea has rounded branchiostegal spines and no spine on the end of the last abdominal segment which is associated with the telson.

Geographical Range:  Central and western tropical and warm north temperate Pacific

Depth Range:  150-500 m.  Shallower than other Gnathophausia species, may be in the deep scattering layer.

Habitat:  Mesopelagic or shallow bathypelagic.  Seems to always be found near land.

Biology/Natural History:  This small species is by far the lightest-colored species of Gnathophausia that I have seen.  The light coloration is probably correlated with the shallow depth that the species is found at.  The rostrum of this species, as in many Gnathophausia, is proportionately larger in small individuals, as are the spine on the antenna and the branchiostegal spine.  The posterior lobe of the pleuron on the second abdominal segment forms a spine which is longer in mature males than in mature females.

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Dichotomous Keys:

General References:
Clarke, W.D., 1962.  The genus Gnathophausia (Mysidacea, Crustacea), its systematics and distribution in the Pacific Ocean.  Ph.D. thesis, University of California, San Diego, Ca.  251 pp.

Scientific Articles:
Ortmann A.E., 1906.   Schizopod Crustaceans in the United States National Museum- the Families Lophogastridae and Eucopiidae. Government Printing Office, Washington DC

Web sites:

General Notes and Observations:  Locations, abundances, unusual behaviors:

Authors and Editors of Page:
Dave Cowles (2006):  Created original page