Biodiversity Data Journal : Taxonomic Paper
Taxonomic Paper
The first data on the freshwater microcrustaceans of Shokalsky Island (Russian Arctic)
expand article info Anna Novichkova ‡, §
‡ Lomonosov Moscow State University, Moscow, Russia
§ A.N. Severtsov Institute of Ecology and Evolution, Moscow, Russia
Open Access



Information on freshwater invertebrates of the Russian Arctic is very scarce, especially concerning insular biota. The species composition of microcrustaceans (Cladocera, Copepoda) of many arctic islands is still unknown and have never been explored. Here we report the results of the first investigation of the zooplankton of the Shokalsky Island (Yamalo­Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Russia).

Information on freshwater invertebrates of the Russian Arctic is very scarce, especially concerning insular biota. The species composition of microcrustaceans (Cladocera, Copepoda) of many arctic islands is still unknown and have never been explored. Here we report the results of the first investigation of the zooplankton of the Shokalsky Island (Yamalo­Nenets Autonomous Okrug, Russia).

New information

The new records reported here are novel for the region and significantly expand the knowledge of the high­-latitude aquatic biota. We studied the species composition of Cladocera and Copepoda of 21 freshwater habitats located on the south­western part of Shokalsky Island. We found 15 species of microcrustaceans in total and all of them are reported for the first time here. Also, the obtained data expand the existing ranges of distribution of some species and report several new taxa for the whole Yamalo­Nenets region of Russia.


Cladocera, Copepoda, microcrustaceans, freshwater, Russian Arctic, Shokalsky Island


Shokalsky Island is a small island in the Kara Sea located in the Yamalo­Nenets Autonomous Okrug of Russia (Fig. 1). It is separated from the mainland by a narrow strait, which is only 5­9 metres in width. The island is a flat plain covered by tundra with a great number of rivers, small lakes and ponds (Il'yna et al. 1985). It belongs to the Gydan Nature Reserve, which includes a diverse terrain of northern Gydan Peninsula, preserving waterfowl nesting areas, polar bear, and walrus and is known as the nothermost nature reserve in Western Siberia (Nikiforov 1997). Due to its remotness and very limited access to some territories, the level of scientifical researches here is rather low and some of the aspects are under studied. Despite the long period of freshwater observations in the region, invertebrate fauna of all the peninsulas lying in the Yamalo­Nenets Autonomous Okrug is known only fragmentarily (Sharapova and Abdullina 2004). According to the latest data, information on the zooplankton of the northen Yamal is very scarce, while the species inhabiting water bodies of Tazovsky and Gydan Peninsulas are known only from rare publications focused on large lakes and rivers (Popov 2012). The species composition of the microcrustaceans (Cladocera, Copepoda) of Shokalsky island has never been explored.

Figure 1.  

Location of the Shokalsky Island on the map. Original map from:

Materials and methods

The samples were collected during a hydrobiological survey of the compex expedition of KUBZ (Moscow Zoo young biologist's coterie) in August, 2014. Microcrustaceans were collected from 21 freshwater habitats from south­western part of Shokalsky Island, most of them were small thermokarst ponds with the depth of 0.5­ - 1.5 m (Fig. 2). Environmental variables such as bottom sediment type (clay, silt, sand, detritus or thick mosses, measured in accordance with Wentworth Grade Scale (Ongley 1996)), average depth (mean value for the whole sampled area) and size (average length of diameters) of the water body were noted for each site (Table 1). The sampling was performed from the shore using a qualitative plankton net (type “Apstein”, mesh size 50 μm). Upon collection, all samples were preserved in ethanol (96%). Species identification and enumeration was carried out primarily in Bogorov counting chambers; the total numbers of Cladocera and Copepoda were recorded. Description of the distributional ranges of the species is also provided in the checklist: AT - Afrotropical, AU - Australasian, ANT - Antarctic, NA - Nearctic, NT - Neotropical, OL - Oriental, PA - Palaearctic, PAC - Pacific oceanic islands.

Table 1.

Locations and dates of sampling with notes on the water body type and substratum (bottom sediment).

Site No.

Date Coordinates Altitude Water body type Bottom Sediment Average Size Average Depth


72.91667°N, 74.33418°E 7m bayou pond silt, mosses 5m x 13m 0.5m


72.91928°N, 74.33338°E 2m bayou pond silt 5m x 10m 0.5m


72.92120°N, 74.33328°E -6m bayou pond silt 8m x 20m 0.3m


72.91103°N, 74.39402°E -1m thermokarst pond silt, detritus 6m x 10m 0.5m
5 04.08.2014 72.91523°N, 74.40652°E 7m thermokarst pond

clay, sand

15m x 30m 1.5m
6 05.08.2014 72.94028°N, 74.33675°E 3m thermokarst pond


1.5m x 15m

7 05.08.2014 72.94101°N, 74.33377°E boggy stream


1m x 1.5m 1.5m
8 06.08.2014 72.96975°N, 74.33328°E -1m thermokarst pond

clay, silt

5m x 10m 0.5m
9 07.08.2014 72.93123°N, 74.29818°E 3m bayou pond

sand, mosses

3m x 5m 0.5m
10 07.08.2014 72.93850°N, 74.30105°E 0m thermokarst pond

sand, mosses

2m x 5m 1.5m
11 10.08.2014 72.93318°N, 74.40840°E -1m thermokarst pond

silt, mosses

5m x 10m 1m
12 10.08.2014 72.93198°N, 74.29845°E 8m thermokarst pond

sand, mosses

1.5m x 6m

13 11.08.2014 72.93358°N, 74.29932°E 3m thermokarst pond


2m x 2.5m 1m
14 12.08.2014 72.95233°N, 74.34007°E 3m thermokarst pond

sand, mosses

2m x 10m 0.5m
15 12.08.2014 72.94750°N, 74.33728°E 9m thermokarst pond

silt, mosses

1.5m x 2m 1.5m
16 13.08.2014 72.93787°N, 74.39213°E 1m thermokarst pond

silt, mosses

5m x 20m

17 13.08.2014 72.95078°N, 74.38572°E 0m thermokarst pond

sand, silt

10m x 30m

18 14.08.2014 72.93840°N, 74.42920°E thermokarst pond

silt, mosses

5m x 20m

19 15.08.2014 72.93803°N, 74.34598°E -9m thermokarst pond

silty sand, mosses

20m x 40m 1m
20 15.08.2014 72.94862°N, 74.46823°E 0m thermokarst pond clay 20m x 45m 1.5m
21 15.08.2014 72.98183°N, 74.51590°E 7m lake


450m x 550m 1.5m
Figure 2.  

Location of the sampled stations in inner water bodies on the map of Shokalsky Island (Google Maps).

List of species Cladocera and Copepoda recorded on Shokalsky Island

Infraorder Cladocera Latreille, 1829

Family Chydoridae Dybowski et Grochowski, 1894

Acroperus harpae (Baird, 1834)


localities no. 1, 7. Distribution: AT, AU, NA, NT, OL, PA.

Alona affinis (O.F. Müller, 1776)


localities no. 1, 3, 5, 6, 7, 16, 21. Distribution: AT, AU, NA, NT, OL, PA.

Alona quadrangularis (Leydig, 1860)


locality no. 9. Distribution: AT, AU, NA, OL, PA.

Chydorus sphaericus (O.F. Müller, 1776)


localities no. 1-9, 11, 13, 16, 19, 20, 21. Distribution: AT, AU, NA, NT, OL, PAC, PA.

Graptoleberis testudinaria (Fischer, 1848)


locality no. 17. Distribution (subsp. testudinaria): AT, AU, NA, NT, OL, PA.

Family Eurycercidae Kurz, 1875 sensu Dumont et Silva-Briano, 1998

Eurycercus (Teretifrons) glacialis Lilljeborg 1887


localities no. 1, 21. Distribution: NA, PA.

Family Daphniidae Straus, 1820

Daphnia cf. pulex Leydig, 1860


localities no. 3, 5, 6, 7, 13, 19. Distribution: AT, NA, NT, PA.

Scapholeberis mucronata (O.F. Müller, 1776)


localities no. 1, 6, 7. Distribution: NA, NT, PA.

Simocephalus vetulus (O.F. Müller, 1776)


locality no. 1. Distribution: PA.

Family Bosminidae Baird 1845 sensu Sars 1865

Bosmina (Bosmina) longirostris (O. F. Müller, 1785)


localities no. 17, 18. Distribution: : AT, ANT, AU, NA, NT, OL, PAC, PA.

Family Sididae Baird, 1850

Latona setifera (O.F. Müller, 1776)


localities no. 21. Distribution: NA, PA.

Family Polyphemidae Baird, 1845

Polyphemus pediculus (Linnaeus, 1761)


localities no. 1-9, 13, 14, 20, 21. Distribution: NA, PA

Subclass Copepoda Milne Edwards, 1840

Order Cyclopoida Burmeister, 1834

Family Cyclopidae Rafinesque, 1815

Cyclops vicinus Uljanin, 1875


localities no. 1, 4, 18, 19.

Order Calanoida Sars G.O., 1903

Family Diaptomidae Baird, 1850

Diaptomus cf. castor (Jurine, 1820)


locality no. 1. Distribution: PA (Europe (Austria, France....), Greenland, Northern Alaska (Colville River)).

Leptodiaptomus angustilobius (Sars G.O., 1898)


localities no. 1-9, 12, 13, 14, 18, 20, 21. Distribution: NA (Arctic and Subarctic Canada, to the Kuril Islands).


In total 15 species of microcrustaceans were identified, comprising 12 species in 12 genera of Cladocera, and three species in three genera of Copepoda. All of the taxa have not been previously documented on the island. Microcrustaceans were found in 90% of the studied sites. The number of species encountered in each water body varied from one to ten (Table 2). The most common species in the studied sites were Leptodiaptomus angustilobius (Sars, 1898), Polyphemus pediculus (Linnaeus, 1761) and Chydorus cf. sphaericus (Muller, 1776), they usually dominate in the communities and occured in most of the investigated water bodies.

Table 2.

Main characteristics of microcrustacean communities in the observed water bodies.

Site No.

Dominant species

(% of total abundance)


(% of total abundance)

Total number of species

Scapholeberis mucronata (20%) +

Chydorus sphaericus (19,2%)

Simocephalus vetulus (15,8%) 10
2 Leptodiaptomus angustilobius (83,3%) Polyphemus pediculus (12,5%) 3
3 Polyphemus pediculus (90,8%) Chydorus sphaericus (6,5%) 5
4 Leptodiaptomus angustilobius (99,7%) - 4
5 Leptodiaptomus angustilobius (97,9%) - 5
6 Leptodiaptomus angustilobius (70,4%) Chydorus sphaericus (23,5%) 6
7 Polyphemus pediculus (62,1%) Chydorus sphaericus (15,3%) 7
8 Polyphemus pediculus (57,1%)

Chydorus sphaericus (28,6%) +

Leptodiaptomus angustilobius (14,3%)

9 Chydorus sphaericus (51%) Polyphemus pediculus (36%) 4
10 - - 0
11 Chydorus sphaericus (100%) - 1
12 Leptodiaptomus angustilobius (100%) - 1
13 Leptodiaptomus angustilobius (86,2%) 4
14 Polyphemus pediculus (72,2%) 2
15 - - 0
16 Chydorus sphaericus (95,7%)

Alona affinis (4,3%)

17 Bosmina longirostris (80%) Graptoleberis testudinaria (20%) 2
18 Leptodiaptomus angustilobius (66,7%) Cyclops vicinus (25%) 4
19 Chydorus sphaericus (93,8%) - 4
20 Leptodiaptomus angustilobius (88,5%) Chydorus sphaericus (8,8%)


21 Polyphemus pediculus (61,2%) Leptodiaptomus angustilobius (24,3%) 6

The distributional ranges of all the species are rather wide, none of them are restricted to the arctic area or more limited region. The areas of the species are noted in the Checklist according to the FADA Databases of Cladocera (Kotov et al. 2013) and Copepoda (Boxshall and Defaye 2009). The most important findings are Latona setifera (Muller, 1776), Diaptomus cf. castor (Jurine, 1820) and Graptoleberis testudinaria (Fischer, 1848). The first two species have never been found on the territory of Yamalo-Nenets Autonomous Okrug, and the third one was only known from waters of lower Ob' River (Semyonova et al. 2000). All of them occured rarely in separate water bodies. For the species L. setifera this record is the northernmost finding ever (Korovchinsky 2004).


The studies were supported by the Russian Science Foundation (Grant 14-14-00778). The material was collected by Chertoprud EM.


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