Distribution of limnoterrestrial Tardigrada in Georgia and the Gulf Coast states of the United States of America with ecological remarks
AbstractThis report is an effort to improve understanding of the distribution of limnoterrestrial tardigrades in Georgia and the states along the Gulf Coast of the United States of America. We collected 14 species of tardigrades from cryptogams (mosses, lichens, and liverworts) and leaf litter in a statewide survey of Louisiana and reviewed all publications and theses reporting tardigrade distributions in the Gulf Coast states. Statewide surveys have been also conducted in Alabama, Florida, and Texas, while sampling in Mississippi and Georgia has been more localized. Currently 51 species have been identified in the region: 19 in Texas, 16 in Louisiana, 10 in Mississippi, 33 in Alabama, 3 in Georgia, and 15 in Florida. These tardigrades have been collected from cryptogams (mosses, lichens, and liverworts) on trees and rocks, from soil and leaf litter, and from freshwater. Twenty species are widely distributed in the region (i.e., found in ≥ 2 non-contiguous states), while 27 have been found in only one state. Eighteen species are probably cosmopolitan. Seven species, widespread in the Gulf Coast states but unknown elsewhere in the Nearctic Region – Echiniscus kofordi, Echiniscus cavagnaroi, Parexapodibius pilatoi, Hexapodibius christenberryae, Biserovus bindae, Minibiotus fallax and a new Macrobiotus cf. hufelandi – may represent a distinctive regional fauna in cryptogams.
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