FIRST RECORD OF THE TADPOLE SHRIMP TRIOPS CANCRIFORMIS (LAMARCK,1801) (CRUSTACEA: BRANCHIOPODA: NOTOSTRACA) IN PORTUGAL
Notostracan crustaceans identified as Triops cancriformis according to the presently accepted morphological criteria were recorded for the first time in Portugal in 2007. All previous records of Triops in Portugal belong to mauritanicus lineage species i.e. T. vicentinus or T. baeticus. A specimen purportedly belonging to T. cancriformis (Carvalho, 1944) has been re-identified by Machado in 2014 as T. baeticus after morphological examination. During 2007, hundreds of individuals of T. cancriformis were observed throughout the rice paddies on the northern margin of Sorraia River (Vale do Sorraia, Coruche). In the last 9 years, monthly checks during the rainy season have failed to record high population abundances and only a few specimens have been observed in the flooded tracks left by trucks and other heavy machinery on the elevated margins of the paddies. The low number of individuals observed in the latter years possibly results from changes of ecological conditions. Thus far, males of T. cancriformis have not been recorded, which may indicate that the observed population is either androdioecious or made of hermaphrodite or parthenogenetic populations. This situation contrasts with the other confirmed populations of this species in the Iberian Peninsula that are gonochoric. Parthenogenetic/hermaphrodite/androdioecious lineages, present in Northern and Central Europe, are considered to have derived from gonochoric Iberian populations in the Pleistocene which makes this finding all the more interesting in evolutionary terms. Has this population resulted from a recent recolonization from non‐Iberian populations? Or has it derived directly from the assumed Iberian Pleistocene refuge? The potentially high dispersal abilities of Triops diapausing cysts and the possibility of hermaphrodite/parthenogenetic reproduction favour the 1st hypothesis of recolonization. Possible sources of individuals are (i) cysts attached to migratory birds arriving possibly from Southern France or Northern Italy and that are regularly seen feeding at these rice fields or ii) cysts unwittingly transported with the rice seeds used in the Vale do Sorraia. Both are in accordance with the assumption that nongonochoric reproductive mode confers a colonization advantage over gonochoric populations, which lack evidence of fast long distance dispersal ability. Future multilocus phylogenetic analysis is expected to clarify the origin of T. cancriformis found in the Sorraia’s rice fields.