First record of the Asian diaptomid Neodiaptomus schmackeri (Poppe & Richard, 1892) (Crustacea: Copepoda: Calanoida) in Europe
Albania, as well as a great part of the Balkan area in general, still suffers a lack of environmental studies especially in limnological research. The Dumre plateau, in Central Albania, is characterized by an extraordinary high number of karst lakes in a small geographic area. Despite their environmental peculiarity, very few biological data are to date available for these lakes, none on the zooplankton. For this reason, 15 water bodies located in the central area of the plateau were selected for a preliminary limnological survey carried out in the years 2008-2011. Neodiaptomus schmackeri (Poppe & Richard, 1892), a diaptomid calanoid copepod characterized by a South-Eastern Palearctic - Oriental distribution, and the most widely spread Neodiaptomus species in Asia, was found in 8 lakes of the Dumre area. This finding represents the first record of the species, and of the entire genus Neodiaptomus, for Europe. Several environmental variables were measured to characterize the lakes, and the co-occurring planktonic crustaceans were also identified. Taxonomical drawings and descriptions of the main morphological features of both sexes are herein provided in order to compare the Albanian populations of N. schmackeri with those of the native distribution area of the species. The possible causes which determined the occurrence of this non-indigenous species in several Dumre lakes are discussed.
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