Invertebrate Systematics Invertebrate Systematics Society
Systematics, phylogeny and biogeography

Phylogenetic analysis using rDNA reveals polyphyly of Oplophoridae (Decapoda : Caridea)

Tin-Yam Chan A C , Ho Chee Lei B C , Chi Pang Li B and Ka Hou Chu B D
+ Author Affliations
- Author Affliations

A Institute of Marine Biology, National Taiwan Ocean University, 2 Pei-Ning Road, Keelung 20224, Taiwan.

B Simon F. S. Li Marine Science Laboratory, Department of Biology, The Chinese University of Hong Kong, Shatin, N. T., Hong Kong.

C These two authors contributed equally to this work.

D Corresponding author. Email:

Invertebrate Systematics 24(2) 172-181
Submitted: 6 December 2009  Accepted: 28 April 2010   Published: 29 June 2010


Molecular phylogenetic analysis on nine of the ten genera in the caridean family Oplophoridae Dana, 1852, as well as 14 other caridean families using mitochondrial 16S and nuclear 18S rRNA genes, does not support the monophyletic status of Oplophoridae. Two disparate groups of oplophorids are revealed, with different morphological characters and ecology. It is proposed that the family Oplophoridae is restricted to the three genera Oplophorus, Systellaspis and Janicella. These three genera tend to be distributed in shallower water than the other oplophorid genera, and can also be distinguished from them by certain morphological characters. They have a thicker integument, superficial cuticular photophores and larger eyes, and the molar process of their mandibles is greatly reduced or bears a deep channel. The family Acanthephyridae Bate, 1888 is resurrected for the other seven genera, which are generally distributed in deeper water and are characterised by red soft integument, no cuticular photophores, smaller eyes and well-developed molar process of the mandibles without a deep channel. The relationships between these two families and other caridean families could not be clearly resolved in this study.


We sincerely thank A. Crosnier and R. Cléva of the Muséum national d’Histoire naturelle, Paris (MNHN) for the sample of Hymenodora glacialis. The sample of Discias sp. was collected by the SANTO 2006 expedition. The SANTO 2006 expedition to Vanuatu was organised by MNHN, Pro Natura International (PNI) and Institut de Recherche pour le Développement (IRD). The expedition operated under a permit granted to P. Bouchet of MNHN by the Environment Unit of the Government of Vanuatu. The Marine Biodiversity part of the expedition, a part of Census of Marine Life’s CReefs programme, was specifically funded by grants from the Total Foundation and the Sloan Foundation. The specimen of Alvinocaris longirostris was obtained through the courtesy of Shinji Tsuchida of JAMSTEC, Japan. All material has been collected under appropriate collection permits and approved ethics guidelines. We are indebted to D. Wilmshurst of The Chinese University of Hong Kong for his editorial comments on the manuscript. This work was supported by grants from the National Science Council, Taiwan, R.O.C., Academia Sinica and the Center for Marine Bioenvironment and Biotechnology of the National Taiwan Ocean University. The molecular analysis was supported by a grant from the Research Grants Council, Hong Kong SAR, China (project no. CUHK4419/04M).


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