Branchinella hearnii, Timms, Brian V, 2012

Timms, Brian V, 2012, Further studies on the fairy shrimp genus Branchinella (Crustacea: Anostraca: Thamnocephalidae) in Australia, with descriptions of five new species, Zootaxa 3595, pp. 35-60: 46-49

publication ID 10.5281/zenodo.254592

publication LSID


persistent identifier

treatment provided by


scientific name

Branchinella hearnii

sp. nov.

Branchinella hearnii   sp. nov.

Figs. 1 View FIGURE 1 F, 5 B, 7.

Etymology. This species is named for Roger Hearn of Manjimup, who first collected this species from Little Unicup Lake, near Lake Muir in southwest Western Australia in 2005 and then displayed beautiful live specimens to the staff and myself as a visiting scientist at the Department of Environment and Conservation’s aquatic laboratory at Wanneroo.

Type locality. Western Australia, ca. 12 km N of Lake Muir, Little Unicup Lake, 34 o 19 ’ 46.9 ”S, 116 o 42 ’ 51.8 ”E, 19 August 2009, BVT

Holotype. Male deposited in the Western Australian Museum. Total length: 28 mm Accession number: WAM C 49896 View Materials .

Allotype. Female. Total length: 28 mm. Accession number: WAM C 49897 View Materials .

Paratypes. 1 male, 5 females same data, WAM C 49898 View Materials ; 2 male, 7 females, Western Australia, ca. 10 km N of Lake Muir and 1 km S of Unicup Lake, ‘Branchinella’ Lake, 34 o 21 ’ 41 ”S, 116 o 43 ’ 22 ”E, 6 October 2008, BVT, WAM C 49899 View Materials .

Other Material. Numerous juveniles, Western Australia, ca. 12 km N of Lake Muir, Little Unicup Lake, 34 o 19 ’ 46.9 ”S, 116 o 42 ’ 51.8 ”E, 5 September 2007, R. Hearn, WAM C 49900 View Materials ; 1 male 9 females, Western Australia, ca. 14 km N of Lake Muir, Tolkerup West Lake, 34 o 19 ’ 59.4 ”S, 116 o 43 ’ 21.1 ”E, 6 September 2007, R. Hearn, WAM C 49901 View Materials ; 1 male, 1 female, Western Australia, ca. 10 km N of Lake Muir and 1 km S of Unicup Lake, ‘Branchinella’ Lake, 34 o 21 ’ 41 ”S, 116 o 43 ’ 22 ”E, 2 November 2007, R. Hearn, WAM C 49902 View Materials ; 12 juveniles, Western Australia, ca 18 km N of Lake Muir, ‘Cricket Ground Lake,’ 34 o 16 ’ 17.5 ”S, 116 o 42 ’ 03.8”E, 4 September 2008, R. Hearn, WAM C 49903 View Materials ; 2 males, 4 females, Western Australia, ca. 14 km N of Lake Muir, Tolkerup West Lake, 34 o 19 ’ 59.4 ”S, 116 o 43 ’ 21.1 ”E, 6 October 1908, BVT, WAM C 49904 View Materials ; many juveniles, 2.4 km SW of Watheroo, ‘Bentonite Lake,’ 30 o 18 ’ 46 ” S, 116 o 02’ 33 ”E, 5 September 2009, BVT, WAM C 49905 View Materials ; 6 males, 2 females, 4.7 km W of Coomberdale, 30 o 28 ’ 02”S, 115 o 59 ’ 18 ”E, 6 September, 2009, BVT, WAM C 49906 View Materials .

Diagnosis. Frontal appendage short and forked and not reaching beyond the bases of the second antennae. Second antenna medial surface of proximal antennomere with large plate like tumidity on each side. Each gonopod flanked by a lateral swelling with a central hollow. Females with a lateral tumidity on each genital segment and paired dorsal tumidities on the first genital segment. Anterior setae of fifth thoracopod with endites 4 and 5 anterior setae naked and more than twice as long as second anterior setae on endites 4–6 which carry a pecten of fine spines.

Description. Male. Eyes freely projecting on peduncles about the same length as eye diameter.

First antennae filiform, a little longer than second antenna proximal antennomere, and terminating in 3–5 long sensory setae.

Second antennae. Proximal antennomere slightly shorter than distal antennomere. Proximal antennomeres usually well separated from each other and fused basally at about 45 o. Each proximal antennomere with a large lamellar projection aligned ventrally. This projection, lacking sensory denticles or spinules, supported posteriorly by a ventrally narrowing ridge. Distal antennomeres of uniform diameter, gently arcing medially, and with weakly developed transverse medial ridges.

Frontal appendage small, bifurcated, not protruding beyond the fused basal antennomeres.

Fifth thoracopod with endite 1 + 2 and 3 evenly curved, the former about three times the size of the later. Anterior setae of endite 1 naked, of similar length to adjacent posterior setae. Anterior setae of endite 2 a little shorter than first anterior setae, bearing a pecten of spines and attended at its base by a small smooth spine. Endite 3 with an anterior setae longest of the three anterior setae on endites 1 to 3, about 7 / 8 th the length of the adjacent posterior setae, and bearing a pecten of spines. This anterior setae also attended by a small spine at its base. Endites 4–6 asymmetrical and covered with small spines. Endites 4 and 5 with two anterior setae and endite 6 with one anterior seta, representing two types. The first of all three endites, about 1 / 3 rd the length of the adjacent anterior setae and with a fine pecten most of their length. The second type on endites 4 and 5 only, 3 / 4 the length of adjacent posterior setae and naked. Posterior setae of all endites long and numbering about 27 on endites 1 + 2, about 9 on endite 3, then 4, 3, 4 respectively on endites 4–6. Those on endites 1 + 2 increasing in length basally to apex. Endopod broadly triangular shaped but with two closely spaced apices; straightest medial surface bearing about 12 spaced setae and curved lateral surface bearing numerous (ca 70) closely spaced setae. Exopod unevenly oval (medial edge more rounded than lateral edge) bearing about 90 closely spaced posterior setae. Setal bases with 3–6 minute spines. Epipodite elongate oval and unadorned. Praeepipodite large and broad, larger than endopod and exopod combined, and with a finely serrated margin.

Genital segments about same width as adjacent thoracic and abdominal segments. Bases of gonopods a little longer than one abdominal segment each flanked by a lateral swelling with a central hollow. Everted gonopod with a long row of about 15 triangular spines medially and a wide field of longer thin spines on opposite side.

Cercopods typical for Branchinella   .

Female. Eye plus peduncle about half the width of the head.

First antenna filiform, a little longer than eye plus peduncle.

Second antenna lamellar, about three times the head width on each side and narrowing to a sharp symmetrical apex. Second antennae fused together medially.

Genital segments larger than adjacent thoracic and abdominal segments and with distinctive swellings and projections First genital segment with a large bulbous lateral tumidity each side and two adjacent asymmetrical pyramid shaped projections dorsally. Apices of these projections produced posteriorly and laterally. Second genital segment with another lateral tumidity on each side but it is sac-like and directed dorsally.

Brood pouch bulbous anteriorly with a marked ventral swelling, but tubular posteriorly and terminating at about the third abdominal segment.

Fifth thoracopod and cercopods as in male.

Egg diameter 485 µm, with about 13 polygonal depressions, each shallow with sharp ridges and concave floor with dimples (Timms and Lindsay, 2011).

Variability. Some variability in features was noticed in the material available. Fusion of the second antennal proximal antennomeres ranges from almost 90 o to about 50 o. In males the two ventral tumidities may be up to 25 % smaller than in the holotype and the triangular spines on the gonopod may number up to 24 (see Figs 2 View FIGURE 2 A, B, Timms, 2008). In females the lateral tumidities on the genital segments may be smaller than in the allotype and the apices of the second antennae asymmetrical (see Figs 2 View FIGURE 2 C, D, Timms, 2008), and there may be two weak ventral hooks pointing posteriorly on the brood chamber. The paired dorsal pyramid-shaped projections are invariable.

Size. Mature B. hearnii   sp.nov. are relatively large. There are 10 males in collections from the Lake Muir area ranging in size from 24 to 30 mm and averaging 26.7 mm, and 13 females in the same collections ranging in size from 19 to 38 mm and averaging 34.6 mm. Generally it is the smaller (immature?) males and females with the smaller tumidities.

Differential diagnosis. Branchinella hearnii   sp. nov. is almost identical with B. compacta Linder   , with which it was initially confused ( Timms, 2008), but its 16 SmtDNA differs by 12.8 % ( Pinceel et al., 2012). It is separable from this species by many morphological features, including: (a) in males, the ventral lamellar projection on the second antennal proximal antennomere is much larger in B. hearnii   sp.nov. than in B. compacta   where it is hardly present at all ( Fig 4 View FIGURE 4 A, B); (b) most B. compacta   males have small sensory spines lining much of the medial surface of the proximal antennomere, whereas this surface is smooth in B. hearnii   sp.nov.; (c) in female, B. compacta   lateral tumidities on its genital segments are significantly smaller than the large ones in B. hearnii   sp.nov. ( Fig. 4 View FIGURE 4 C, D, 7 F, G); (d) The anterior setae on endites 4–6 are different in the two species, in B. compacta   there are three longer setae each with pectens of spines and two very short naked setae, whereas in B. hearnii   sp.nov. there are two longer naked setae and three shorter setae with pectens ( Fig. 5 View FIGURE 5 A, B); (e) in B. compacta   the medial endopodal setae are feathered and have 10–14 small spines basally whereas in B. hearnii   sp.nov. the medial endopodial setae are short, naked and basally spineless ( Fig. 5 View FIGURE 5 A, B); and (f) B. compacta   occurs in southeastern Australia, mainly in western Victoria ( Geddes, 1981) but including some lakes on the Monaro, NSW (see above), while B. hearnii   n.sp, inhabits sites in southwestern Western Australia, both north and south of Perth.

Resting eggs of these two species are easily differentiated: those of B.hearnii   sp.nov. have fewer depressions than eggs of B. compacta   (<15 cf> 25) and their walls are sharp compared to rounded in B. compacta   ( Fig. 1 View FIGURE 1 D, F) (Timms and Lindsay, 2011).

Given the genital segment tumidities and projections in females and the ventral lamellar projection in the clasper apparatus of males (reminiscent of males of Parartemia   — Timms, 2012), it most likely exhibits lock and key amplexus (sensu Rogers, 2002). The male claspers would appress the genital segments perhaps either anterior or posterior to the dorsal pyramid shaped projections, to form a tight union. While all species of the Australian brine shrimp ( Parartemia   ) use lock and key amplexus ( Rogers, 2002; Timms, 2011), B. hearnii   sp.nov. is the only second known species in Branchinella   to possibly use it, its close relative B. compacta   being the other candidate. The advantage to it is not clear in the Unicup area as no other species of Branchinella   is known from this area, but in the Coomberdale — Watheroo area, B. hearnii   sp.nov. shares its known sites with B. erosa   sp. nov.

Distribution and Ecology. B. hearnii   sp.nov. occurs in a few hyposaline lakes to 8 g /L to the north of Lake Muir in southwestern Western Australia as well as in a few lakes, also hyposaline to 12 g /L, in the Coomberdale — Watheroo area north of Moora, Western Australia. In both areas the lakes in which it is found contain clear waters, turbidities <20 NTU. On the other hand its near relative, B. compacta   , while also tending to occur in hyposaline lakes, lives in turbid waters often> 200 NTU.


Western Australian Museum


Royal Botanic Gardens, National Herbarium of New South Wales