Molluscan Communities of the Florida Keys and Adjacent by Liviu Gabriel Cretu; Florin Dumitriu

By Liviu Gabriel Cretu; Florin Dumitriu

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Extending beyond the continental shelf and deep terraces of the Florida Keys, this area houses the Pelagic Macrohabitat and its pleustonic (surfacefloating organisms) and planktonic (drifting organisms) molluscan faunas. These three deep-water and open-oceanic ecological zones are discussed in Chapter 9. Molluscan assemblages of the Florida Keys, Florida Bay, and the Ten Thousand Islands Each of Madden and Goodwin’s macrohabitats contains one or more characteristic Molluscan Assemblages. These faunal units are composed of the resident mollusks that occur on, and are restricted to, a specific biotope.

G = Jaspidiconus pfluegeri Petuch, 2004, length 21 mm (extant in the Recent Florida Keys and Palm Beach coast). H = Solenosteira cancellarius (Conrad, 1846), length 29 mm (extinct in southeastern Florida; extant along northwestern Florida and along the northern Gulf of Mexico as far as Texas). I = Eustrombus gigas (Linnaeus, 1758), length 178 mm (also found in the contemporaneous late Pleistocene Fort Thompson, Miami, and Anastasia Formations; extant in the Florida Keys). J = Pyrazisinus ultimus Petuch, 2004, length 52 mm (genus now extinct, and this is the last-living species; Pyrazisinus ranges from the late Oligocene to the latest Pleistocene).

These small bivalves, in turn, are the principal prey items for a distinctive dwarf form of the Keys endemic melongenid, Melongena (Rexmela) bicolor. The branches, prop roots, and pneumatophores of the bonsai mangroves also support a rich fauna of ellobiid and potamidid gastropods, including Melampus morrisoni, M. monilis, M. coffeus, Cerithideopsis scalariformis, and C. costatus. 12 Close-up of an open carbonate sediment area between bonsai mangroves in a Dwarf Mangrove Meadow off Middle Torch Key, Lower Florida Keys.

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