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Latin american journal of aquatic research

On-line version ISSN 0718-560X

Abstract

RUDOLPH, Erich H. Current state of knowledge on Virilastacus species (Crustacea, Decapoda, Parastacidae). Lat. Am. J. Aquat. Res. [online]. 2015, vol.43, n.5, pp.807-818. ISSN 0718-560X.  http://dx.doi.org/10.3856/vol43-issue5-fulltext-1.

The genus Virilastacus was created in 1991 to accommodate Parastacus araucanius Faxon, 1914. At present, Virilastacus comprises four burrowing species, three of which were described at the beginning of the XXI century, and biological knowledge about these species is mainly limited to taxonomic and distributional aspects. This review compiles published information about these species, together with other data available to the author in order to update the current state of biological knowledge and, in turn, to promote the conservation of these species. An upgraded diagnosis of the genus Virilastacus is provided, together with information related to each species with regard to: distinctive morphological traits, geographic distribution, habitat, burrow morphology, burrowing behavior, body size, sexual system, and state of conservation. Some aspects related to morphological adaptations to their burrowing life style, phylogenetic affinities and main threats to conservation are also discussed. It is concluded that biological knowledge about these four species is scarce and fragmentary; furthermore, they are currently under threat as a result of anthropogenic activities that are degrading and fragmenting their habitat.

Keywords : Virilastacus; burrowing crayfish; morphology characters; geographic distribution; sexual system; habitat; conservation status; Chile.

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