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Open Access Review

A revision of Artemia biodiversity in Macaronesia

Francisco Hontoria, Stela Redón, Marta Maccari, Inmaculada Varó, Juan Carlos Navarro, Lluis Ballell and Francisco Amat*

Author Affiliations

Instituto de Acuicultura de Torre de la Sal (CSIC), 12595 Ribera de Cabanes, Castellón, Spain

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Aquatic Biosystems 2012, 8:25  doi:10.1186/2046-9063-8-25

Published: 18 October 2012

Abstract

In a biogeographical context, the term Macaronesia broadly embraces the North Atlantic archipelagos of the Azores, Madeira, Selvagens, the Canary Islands, and Cape Verde. The peculiar arid climatic conditions in some of these places have led to the development of marine salt exploitations, which can be counted among the hypersaline habitats of the brine shrimp Artemia (Branchiopoda, Anostraca). Parthenogenetic populations of this anostracan were described in the Canary Islands during the last decades of the 20th century, while the American Artemia franciscana species was recently found in the Cape Verde archipelago. Following an invasive pattern, this exotic species has recently reached the Canary Islands, too. This paper reports information dealing with biotope loss (solar saltworks) in this biogeographical region, together with possible consequences concerning the arrival of invasive species, two factors that frequently promote dramatic biodiversity losses. The discussion of this threat focuses mainly on the Canary Islands archipelago where native species of Artemia still exist.

Keywords:
Artemia; Biodiversity; Macaronesia; Saltworks; Loss of habitats; Invasion