Morphological variation in Gammarus minus Say (Amphiopoda, Gammeridae), with emphasis on subterranean forms
Gammarus minus Say is a common amphipod species in springs and caves of limestone areas of the eastern and middle-eastern United States. Samples of populations from the central Appalachians were examined closely and morphological variation between spring and cave populations was analyzed. This species occurs in three morphological forms: a spring form, an intermediate cave form and an extreme cave form. The latter form was termed variety tenuipes by some earlier workers but has no nomenclatural validity. In contrast to the spring form, the cave forms show a reduction in eye structure, a change in pigmentation of the integument and a proportionate increase in the length of some of the appendages. It is concluded that G. minus is an extremely vagile and highly variable species that can occupy a variety of habitats, ranging from surface springs to small or large cave systems in certain karst areas.