The biogeography of the Prosopistomatidae, with a particular emphasis on Southern African species

Barber-James, Helen Margaret (2003) The biogeography of the Prosopistomatidae, with a particular emphasis on Southern African species. In: Research Update on Ephemeroptera & Plecoptera: Proceedings of the Tenth International Conference on Ephemeroptera, 8-11 August 2001, Perugia, Italy. University of Perugia, Perugia, Italy, pp. 263-270.



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The mayfly family Prosopistomatidae consists of the single genus Prosopistoma Latreille. Its known distribution includes species from Africa, Madagascar, the Comores, Europe, the Levant, India, Sri Lanka, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Sumatra, Java, the Solomon Islands, Papua New Guinea and northern Australia. A tropical Gondwanaland origin of the family has been suggested. No species are currently known from the Neotropical or Nearctic regions, though the family may yet be discovered in northeastern South America, since this region separated from West Africa only c.120 mya. Focussing on southern Africa, several undescribed species have recently been discovered, with interesting implications to the biogeography on a more localised scale. In the western Cape, a prosopistomatid species has been collected in the Olifants River, extending the distribution of this family further south into a more temperate region. Geological evidence indicates that the Olifants River was connected to the Orange River during the Tertiary period. Prosopistomatidae are known from the Orange River today, and the presence of the family in the Olifants River in the western Cape supports the geological evidence of the historical link between these two rivers. Another unexpected discovery was from the Buffalo River in the eastern Cape, at 33ºS. A subtropical zone extends along the east coast of South Africa as a result of the warm Agulhas current offshore, allowing the southerly extension of the distribution of more tropical species.

Item Type:Book Section
Uncontrolled Keywords:Prosopistoma; Prosopistomatidae; Gondwanaland; Southern Africa; South Africa; river capture; mayfly; mayflies
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Research Institutes and Units > Albany Museum
ID Code:1174
Deposited On:02 Oct 2008
Last Modified:01 Aug 2012 07:28
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