Global diversity of fishlice (Crustacea: Branchiura: Argulidae) in freshwater
Authors:William J. Poly
Abstract:The Branchiura of freshwater habitats, consisting of the valid genera Argulus, Chonopeltis, Dipteropeltis, and Dolops, presently contains 113 valid species and 12 undescribed species. The entire group is composed of ectoparasitic species that usually live on fishes. The highest diversity of genera and species occurs in the Afrotropical and Neotropical regions. The diversity of the freshwater species surpasses that of species in marine and brackish waters, but this could be due to inadequate study of the fauna of the latter habitats. One species, Argulus japonicus, has been introduced from east/southeast Asia to all other continents, except Antarctica. Studies of higher level relationships place the Branchiura with either Pentastomida or Ostracoda. Hypotheses about phylogenetic relationships of either the genera or species in this group have not been proposed.