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Latin american journal of aquatic research

versión On-line ISSN 0718-560X

Lat. Am. J. Aquat. Res. v.38 n.3 Valparaíso  2010


Lat. Am. J. Aquat. Res., 38(3): 501-506, 2010
DOI: 10.3856/vol38-issue3-fülltext-14



The genus Artemia Leach, 1819 (Crustacea: Branchiopoda). I. True and false taxonomical descriptions

El género Artemia Leach, 1819 (Crustacea: Branchiopoda). I. Descripciones taxonómicas verdaderas y falsas


Alireza Asem1, Nasrullah Rastegar-Pouyani2 & Patricio De Los Ríos-Escalante3

1Protectors of Urmia Lake National Park Society (NGO), Urmia, Iran
2Department of Biology, Faculty of Science, Razi University, 67149 Kermanshah, Iran
3Escuela de Ciencias Ambientales, Facultad de Recursos Naturales, Universidad Católica de Temuco Casilla 15-D, Temuco, Chile

Dirección para Correspondencia

ABSTRACT. The brine shrimp Artemia is important for aquaculture since it is bighly nutritious. It is also used widely in biological studies because it is easy to culture. The aim of the present study is to review the literature on the taxonomical nomenclature of Artemia. The present study indicates the existence of seven species: three living in the Americas, one in Europe, and three in Asia.

Keywords: Artemia, saline lakes, morphology, species, taxonomy.

RESUMEN. El camarón de salmuera Artemia es importante para la acuicultura por su alta calidad nutricional y es muy utilizado para estudios biológicos por ser de fácil cultivo. El objetivo del presente estudio es revisar la literatura sobre la nomenclatura taxonómica de Artemia. Se determina la existencia de siete especies; tres de ellas viven en América, una en Europa y tres en Asia.

Palabras clave: Artemia, lagos salinos, morfología, especies, taxonomía.

The brine shrimp Artemia is one of the most important aquatic animals used in aquaculture industry. It was first reported from Urmia Lake in 982 by an unknown Iranian geographer (Asem, 2008), and then in 1756 Schlösser pictured both sexes clearly. Linnaeus (1758) described it as Cáncer salinus but 61 years later, Leach (1819) transferred it to Artemia salina.

The taxonomic status of the genus Artemia is as follows (Martín & Davis, 2001):

  Subphylum: Crustacea Brünnich, 1772
  Class: Branchiopoda Latreille, 1817
  Subclass: Sarsostraca Tasch, 1969
  Order: Anostraca Sars, 1867
  Family: Artemiidae Grochowski, 1896
  Genus: Artemia Leach, 1819
  - A. salina (Linnaeus, 1758): Mediterranean area
  - A. monica Verrill, 1869: USA (Mono Lake; California)
  - A. urmiana Günther, 1899: Iran (Urmia Lake; West Azerbaijan Province)
  - A. franciscana Kellogg, 1906: America, Caribbean and Pacific islands
  - A. persimilis Piccinelli & Prosdocimi, 1968: South America
  - A. sinica Cai, 1989: Central and Eastern Asia
  - A. tibetiana Abatzopoulos, Zhang & Sorgeloos, 1998: China (Tibet)
  - Artemia sp. Pilla & Beardmore, 1994: Kazakhstan
  - Parthenogenetic population(s) of Artemia: Europe, Africa, Asia and Australia

Taxonomists are still confused about the systematic and phylogenetic relationships of the Artemia species (Triantaphyllidis et al, 1997) and there are different opinions about its biosystematics. For example, there are two views for A. franciscana and A. monica. Artemia monica, from Mono Lake, cannot be crossed with A. franciscana because of the inability of the two species to tolérate the same water ionic composition (Mono Lake has a mix of Cl-, SO42- and CO3- ions). A. monica is therefore thought to be effectively debarred from exchanging gene with A. franciscana so these two species are known as two different "biological species" (Clark & Bowen, 1976). According to others (Abreu-Grobois & Beardmore, 1982; Triantaphyllidis et al, 1998), A. monica may be ecologically separated from A. franciscana, but the genetic distance between these two taxa is less than the distance between other Artemia taxa; therefore they can be described as sibling species. Furthermore, there are no taxonomic identification keys for the genus due to a lack of reliable morphological characters, so different methods have been used for species characterization. The most relevant methods are comparison of biometric characteristics, electro-phoretic patterns of different allozymes, cross-fertility tests and microscopic survey of the morphology such as frontal knob and gonopod (Abreu-Grobois & Beardmore, 1982; Mura, 1990; Hontoria & Amat, 1992; Triantaphyllidis et al, 1997; De los Ríos & Zúñiga, 2000; Torrentera & Belk, 2002; De los Ríos & Asem, 2008).

Seeing that Artemia was an economically important species this has led to a decline of basic studies on this taxon, with wide use of 'Artemia salina" as a trade ñame. There are numerous published data on biochemical, mutational, toxicological and others aspects of Artemia, all using the ñame Artemia salina for any population in this genus (Abreu-Grobois & Beardmore, 1982; Gajardo et al, 2002). As a result, the brine shrimp Artemia is used in many aquaculture studies and for experimental models but its basic taxonomy is not considered by many authors resulting in taxonomical confusión (Table 1), with the mistakes and respective corrections about systematic nomenclature.



Dr. D. Christopher Rogers (EcoAnalysts Inc, California, U.S.A.) is thanked for the scientific comments and English text.



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Received: 27 October 2009; Accepted: 17 August 2010

Corresponding author: Alireza Asem (