Biodiversity Data Journal : Data Paper (Biosciences)
Data Paper (Biosciences)
A dataset on the species composition of amphipods (Crustacea) in a Mexican marine national park: Alacranes Reef, Yucatan
expand article infoCarlos E. Paz-Ríos, Nuno Simões§,|,, Daniel Pech
‡ Laboratorio de Biodiversidad Marina y Cambio Climatico (BIOMARCCA), El Colegio de la Frontera Sur, Unidad Campeche, Lerma, Campeche, Mexico
§ Unidad Academica Sisal, Facultad de Ciencias, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Puerto de Abrigo, Sisal, Yucatan, Mexico
| Laboratorio Nacional de Resiliencia Costera (LANRESC), Puerto de Abrigo, Sisal, Yucatan, Mexico
¶ International Chair for Ocean and Coastal Studies, Harte Research Institute, Texas A&M, Corpus Christi, Texas, United States of America
Open Access



Alacranes Reef was declared as a National Marine Park in 1994. Since then, many efforts have been made to inventory its biodiversity. However, groups such as amphipods have been underestimated or not considered when benthic invertebrates were inventoried. Here we present a dataset that contributes to the knowledge of benthic amphipods (Crustacea, Peracarida) from the inner lagoon habitats from the Alacranes Reef National Park, the largest coral reef ecosystem in the Gulf of Mexico. The dataset contains information on records collected from 2009 to 2011. Data are available through Global Biodiversity Information Facility (GBIF).

New information

A total of 110 amphipod species distributed in 93 nominal species and 17 generic species, belonging to 71 genera, 33 families and three suborders are presented here. This information represents the first online dataset of amphipods from the Alacranes Reef National Park. The biological material is currently deposited in the crustacean collection from the regional unit of the National Autonomous University of Mexico located at Sisal, Yucatan, Mexico (UAS-Sisal). The biological material includes 588 data records with a total abundance of 6,551 organisms. The species inventory represents, until now, the richest fauna of benthic amphipods registered from any discrete coral reef ecosystem in Mexico.


Amphipoda, Peracarida, Macrofauna, Benthos, Species diversity, Coral Reef, Campeche Bank, Gulf of Mexico, occurrence record


Alacranes Reef is a highly diverse protected coral reef ecosystem, located in the southern sector of the Gulf of México. It is considered as one of the largest coral reefs of the Gulf of Mexico (Liceaga-Correa and Hernández-Núñez 2000, Tunnell et al. 2007a). It was declared as a National Marine Park by the Mexican government in 1994 and as a Biosphere Reserve, by the UNESCO, in 2006. Since its declaration as a National Park, Alacranes Reef has been subject to different efforts to inventory its biodiversity, however, this task is not fulfilled until now. Recent studies on reef-associated benthic fauna include sea anemones (González-Muñoz et al. 2013), decapod crustaceans (Santana-Moreno et al. 2013), polychaetes (Ramírez-Hernández et al. 2015), sponges (Ugalde et al. 2015) and mollusks (Reyes-Gómez et al. 2017).The peracarid crustaceans, such as the amphipods, are one of the underestimated groups not considered in the main inventory lists reported for the reef (CONANP 2006, Tunnell et al. 2007b). The scarce evidence describing the richness of amphipods on the Alacranes reef (Paz-Ríos et al. 2014, Paz-Ríos et al. 2013a, Paz-Ríos et al. 2013b) has pointed out the relevance of this group as one of the most diverse in the entire reef ecosystem. The present contribution intends to show the high species richness of benthic amphipods inhabiting the bottom habitats from the inner reef lagoon by providing a dataset with taxonomic checklist. This checklist constitutes the first formal effort to inventory the biodiversity of such group in the Alacranes Reef ecosystem.

Project description


Alacranes Reef Biodiversity Expedition.


Carlos Enrique Paz Ríos and Nuno Simões.

Design description: 

The dataset was composed using information from benthic macrofauna samples randomly collected on different benthic habitats and artificial substrates between 2009 and 2011, mostly in the inner lagoon of Alacranes reef.


Resources included funds to NS from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM) for supporting academic research (PAPIME-PE207210), funds from the Mexican Government for scientific research (SEMARNAT-CONACyT108285) and an international cooperation for marine scientific research between Mexico and USA (HRI-CONABIO-NE018) through the project “Actualización del conocimiento de la diversidad de especies de invertebrados marinos bentónicos de aguas someras (<50 m) del Sur del Golfo de México”. Funds to CEPR was provided by CONACyT scholarship.

Sampling methods

Study extent: 

The dataset contains information on amphipods collected from three different expeditions: the first one in August 2009, the second one in April 2010 and the third one in October 2011. In each expedition a relatively high diversity of habitats was explored in order to increase the chance to capture the species diversity. In the 2010 and 2011 expeditions, special effort was made to collect information on navigation buoys and two wood docks nearby a sand island (isla Perez).

Sampling description: 

Amphipods were collected from 50 sampling sites: Forty-one randomly distributed on natural habitats from the inner lagoon, including different benthic habitats (i.e. bare substrate, seagrass bed, coral patch, reef wall) and nine collected on artificial substrates (i.e. buoy, wood dock, lobster tramp). Diverse sampling devices were employed: PVC core for sandy substrates, shovel for patches of intertidal sand, suction device sampler for coral rubble, sand and shallow coral reef flats and, finally, a Riley push-net and trawl for shallow seagrass beds of Thalassia testudinum (Banks ex König, 1805).

Quality control: 

Amphipod species were sorted and identified to the lowest possible taxonomical category, using specialised literature such as keys for identification, e.g. Myers (1981), Lowry and Stoddart (1997), LeCroy (2000) and illustrated guides, e.g. Winfield et al. (2007), Ortiz et al. (2014). The taxonomical arrangement used herein follows Lowry and Myers (2017). Nine species were identified as possibly new species and were represented at the genus category (i.e. Bemlos, Elasmopus, Idunella, Harpinia, Leucothoe, Maera, Psammogammarus); further specialised taxonomical effort will be needed before assigning a name. Species names were matched using the Taxon Match tool in the World Register of Marine Species (WoRMS) in order to corroborate, standardise and update if necessary. Sampling points in the reef, available in the Data resources (see below), were georeferenced and displayed into different maps using different software (i.e. QGIS®, ArcView GIS®, and Google Maps®).

Step description: 

Once collected, the amphipods were first anaesthetised with magnesium chloride (4%) for 15 to 20 min. and then fixed with formaldehyde solution (10%) buffered with seawater before storage. In the laboratory, samples were washed through a 500 µm size mesh and preserved with 70% of ethanol solution. Finally, the organisms were stored in glass containers with a catalogue number according to the regional collection ‘Crustáceos de Yucatán’ (YUC-CC-255-11), from the ‘Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Unidad Sisal’ Mexico.

Geographic coverage


The Alacranes Reef, Yucatan, Mexico (Fig. 1), is located in the Campeche/Yucatanean Outer Neritic area (Wilkinson et al. 2009) forming part of the North America's marine ecoregion 14 (Southern Gulf of Mexico). It is a platform reef type with a semi-elliptic shape, covering an area larger than 650 km2 (Liceaga-Correa and Hernández-Núñez 2000).

Figure 1.  

Location of sampling points in the Alacranes Reef National Park. The image from the NASA Earth Observatory, was acquired by Jesse Allen on November 5, 2014, by the Operation Land Imager on Landsat 8.


22.337 and 22.605 North Latitude; -89.549 and -89.852 West Longitude.

Taxonomic coverage


The dataset contains information on 110 species (93 nominal species and 17 generic species), belonging to 71 genera, 33 families and three suborders. The suborder Amphilochidea was composed of 46 species, 28 genera and 13 families, the suborder Colomastigidea by 6 species, 1 genus and 1 family and the suborder Senticaudata by 58 species, 42 genera and 19 families (Table 1). Regardless suborder, 6 families presented the highest numbers of species, accounting for the 50% of all the fauna in the reef: Ampithoidae (6 spp.), Colomastigidae (6 spp.), Lysianassidae (8 spp.), Leucothoidae (11 spp.), Maeridae (12 spp.) and Aoridae (13 spp.).

Checklist of benthic amphipod species in the Alacranes Reef, Yucatan.

Suborder Family Species
Amphilochidea Ampeliscidae Ampelisca brevisimulata Barnard, 1954
Ampelisca cristata Holmes, 1908
Ampelisca schellenbergi Shoemaker, 1933
Ampelisca vadorum Mills, 1963
Amphilochidae Apolochus delacaya (McKinney, 1978)
Apolochus sp.
Bateidae Batea carinata (Shoemaker, 1926)
Batea cuspidata (Shoemaker, 1926)
Cyproideidae Hoplopheonoides obesa Shoemaker, 1956
Dexaminidae Dexaminella sp.
Notrotopis minikoi (Walker, 1905)
Leucothoidae Anamixis cavatura Thomas, 1997
Anamixis vanga Thomas, 1997
Leucothoe ashleyae Thomas & Klebba, 2006
Leucothoe barana Thomas & Klebba, 2007
Leucothoe hendrickxi Winfield & Álvarez, 2009
Leucothoe kensleyi Thomas & Klebba, 2005
Leucothoe laurensi Thomas & Ortiz, 1995
Leucothoe saron Thomas & Klebba, 2007
Leucothoe ubouhu Thomas & Klebba, 2007
Leucothoe wuriti Thomas & Klebba, 2007
Leucothoe sp.
Liljeborgiidae Liljeborgia bousfieldi McKinney, 1979
Liljeborgia sp.
Idunella barnardi (Wigley, 1966)
Idunella sp.
Lysianassidae Aruga holmesi Barnard, 1955
Concarnes concavus (Shoemaker, 1933)
Ensayara entrichoma Gable & Lazo-Wasem, 1990
Hippomedon sp.
Lepidepecreum madagascarensis (Ledoyer, 1986)
Lysianopsis alba (Holmes, 1905)
Orchomenella thomasi Lowry & Stoddart, 1997
Shoemakerella cubensis (Stebbing, 1897)
Oedicerotidae Americhelidium americanum (Bousfield, 1973)
Hartmanodes nyei (Shoemaker, 1933)
Perioculodes cerasinus Thomas & Barnard, 1985
Phoxocephalidae Eobrolgus spinosus (Holmes, 1905)
Harpinia sp.
Metharpinia floridana (Shoemaker, 1933)
Rhepoxynius sp.
Platyischnopidae Eudevenopus honduranus Thomas & Barnard, 1983
Sebidae Seba tropica McKinney, 1980
Stenothoidae Stenothoe gallensis Walker, 1904
Stenothoe valida Dana, 1853
Stenothoe sp.
Colomastigidea Colomastigidae Colomastix denticornis LeCroy, 1995
Colomastix falcirama LeCroy, 1995
Colomastix heardi LeCroy, 1995
Colomastix irciniae LeCroy, 1995
Colomastix tridentata LeCroy, 1995
Colomastix sp.
Senticaudata Ampithoidae Ampithoe marcuzzii Ruffo, 1954
Ampithoe ramondi Audouin, 1826
Ampithoe valida Smith, 1873
Cymadusa compta (Smith, 1873)
Cymadusa filosa Savigni, 1816
Pseudamphithoides incurvaria (Just, 1977)
Aoridae Bemlos dentischium (Myers, 1977)
Bemlos kunkelae (Myers, 1977)
Bemlos longicornis Myers, 1978
Bemlos spinicarpus (Pearse, 1912)
Bemlos unicornis (Bynum & Fox, 1977)
Bemlos sp.
Globosolembos smithi (Holmes, 1905)
Grandidierella bonnieroides Coutiere, 1904
Lembos unifasciatus reductus Myers, 1979
Lembos unifasciatus unifasciatus Myers, 1977
Paramicrodeutopus myersi (Bynum & Fox, 1977)
Plesiolembos ovalipes (Myers, 1979)
Plesiolembos rectangulatus (Myers, 1977)
Caprellidae Deutella caribensis Guerra-García, Krapp-Schickel & Müller, 2006
Hemiaegina minuta Mayer, 1890
Metaprotella hummelincki (McCain, 1968)
Eriopisidae Netamelita tabaci Thomas & Barnard, 1991
Psammogammarus sp.
Hadziidae Protohadzia schoenerae (Fox, 1973)
Hornelliidae Hornellia (Metaceradocus) tequestae Thomas & Barnard, 1986
Hyalidae Parhyale hawaiensis (Dana, 1853)
Protohyale (Protohyale) macrodactyla (Stebbing, 1899)
Ischyroceridae Ambicholestes (Ambicholestes) crassicornis (Just, 1984)
Ericthonius punctatus (Bate, 1857)
Ericthonius sp.
Maeridae Anamaera hixoni Thomas & Barnard, 1985
Ceradocus rubromaculatus (Stimpson, 1856)
Ceradocus (Denticeradocus) sheardi Shoemaker, 1948
Ceradocus shoemakeri Fox, 1973
Elasmopus rapax (Costa, 1853)
Elasmopus thomasi Ortiz & Lalana, 1994
Elasmopus sp.
Maera sp.
Maeracoota galani Krapp-Schickel & Ruffo, 2001
Meximaera diffidentia Barnard, 1969
Quadrimaera pacifica (Schellenberg, 1938)
Spathiopus looensis Thomas & Barnard, 1985
Megaluropidae Gibberosus myersi (McKinney, 1980)
Melitidae Dulichiella lecroyae Lowry & Springthorpe, 2007
Melita planaterga Kunkel, 1910
Neomegamphopidae Neomegamphopus hiatus Barnard & Thomas, 1987
Nuuanuidae Nuuanu muelleri Ortiz, 1976
Phliantidae Pariphinotus seclusus (Shoemaker, 1933)
Photidae Audulla chelifera Chevreux, 1901
Gammaropsis sutherlandi Nelson, 1980
Photis sp.
Rocasphotis sp.
Podoceridae Podocerus fissipes Serejo, 1995
Podocerus kleidus Thomas & Barnard, 1992
Pontogeneiidae Nasageneia yucatanensis (McKinney, 1980)
Talitridae Tethorchestia antillensis Bousfield, 1984
Unciolidae Rudilemboides naglei Bousfield, 1973

Temporal coverage

Data range: 
2009-8-01 - 2011-10-17.

Usage rights

Use license: 
IP rights notes: 

Creative Commons Attribution Non Commercial (CC-BY-NC) 4.0 License

Data resources

Data package title: 
Benthic amphipods from Alacranes Reef, Campeche Bank, Mexico
Number of data sets: 
Data set name: 
Benthic amphipods from Alacranes Reef, Campeche Bank, Mexico
Character set: 
Data format: 
Darwin Core Archive (DwC-A)
Data format version: 

The dataset presents an occurrence data sheet with 15 columns including information for 588 records.

Column label Column description
eventID An identifier for the set of information associated with an Event (something that occurs at a place and time).
basisOfRecord The specific nature of the data record.
occurrenceID An identifier for the Occurrence (i.e. number of collection catalogue).
individualCount The number of individuals represented present at the time of the Occurrence.
occurrenceStatus A statement about the presence or absence of a Taxon at a Location.
associatedReferences An identifier (i.e. Digital Object Identifier, DOI) of literature associated with the Occurrence.
samplingProtocol The name of, reference to, or description of the method or protocol used during an Event.
eventDate The date-time or interval during which an Event occurred.
decimalLatitude The geographic latitude (in decimal degrees, using the spatial reference system given in geodeticDatum) of the geographic centre of a Location.
decimalLongitude The geographic longitude (in decimal degrees, using the spatial reference system given in geodeticDatum) of the geographic centre of a Location.
identificationQualifier A brief phrase or a standard term ("cf.", "aff.") to express the determiner's doubts about the Identification.
scientificNameID An identifier for the nomenclatural (not taxonomic) details of a scientific name (i.e. AphiaID).
scientificName The full scientific name.
taxonRank The taxonomic rank of the most specific name in the scientificName.
taxonRemarks Comments or notes about the taxon or name.


To Dr. Ana Carolina Peralta (Universidad Simon Bolivar, Venezuela) by her valuable guide for management our data into GBIF and OBIS. We also thank to Dr. Robert Mesibov for valuable technical evaluation on the Data Quality Checklist draft and two reviewers (Dr. Kristine White and Dr. Yasen Mutafchiev) for useful suggestions.