Eusarcus elinae Kury, 2008

Ázara, Ludson Neves De & Ferreira, Rodrigo Lopes, 2018, Annotated checklist of Gonyleptoidea (Opiliones: Laniatores) associated with Brazilian caves, Zootaxa 4439 (1), pp. 1-107: 72

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Eusarcus elinae Kury, 2008


107. Eusarcus elinae Kury, 2008 

Records in caves. BAHIA. Iraquara: Caverna Pedra Furada (Kury 2008); Ourolândia: Toca dos Ossos  , id. by L.N. Ázara, ( ISLA 12101), ( ISLA 12100).

Remark. This species was originally described as troglobitic. However, the occurrence of a population in Toca dos Ossos cave  (Ourolândia municipality) raises a question on the real “status” of the species. The distance between the type-locality and the new occurrence of the species is around 160 km in straight line. In between, there are several rock types, some of them with low probability of ocurrance of caves. Hence, the possibility of occurrence of subterranean continuities between both caves is unlike, especially considering the species size, that would not allow dispersion through small voids. Furthermore, Kury (2008) presented, as troglomorphic traits for the species, the weak reduction in body pigmentation, the elongation of the dorsal scutum and pedipalpus, the elongate and relatively unarmed legs (although, according to him, E. elinae  present the rows of spines in femur III of male typical of a group of genera in Pachylinae  ) and the high tarsal counts. However, Kury (2008) mentioned that most traits listed above are more evident in other troglobitic species described in the same paper ( Discocyrtus pedrosoi  ). Finally, the author attested that the ocular apparatus seems to be normal in comparison to the epigean Eusarcus  . Given the weak troglomorphic traits observed in the species, allied to the lack of inventories in many epigean environmets in between both caves and the considerable distance between the caves, it may be that E. elinae  is in fact a troglophile, rather than a troglobitic species. However, there is also the possibility that the species recorded in Ourolândia correspond to a cryptic species, morphologically identical to E. elinae  . Cryptic species in cave habitats are revealing to be more common that previously though. According to Niemiller et al. (2013), many troglobitic species anteriorly considered to be a single species were divided in several cryptic species, with lower geographic ranges. Since there are no molecular data from those species currently available, it is not possible to define whether hypothesis is more likely. Accordingly, it is reccomendable that future studies perform systematic samplings in external environments of central Bahia state, to actually determine the status of many species of harvestman found in the caves of the region.