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The cosmopolitan echiniscid genus Hypechiniscus contains exclusively rare species. In this contribution, by combining statistical morphometry and molecular phylogeny, we present qualitative and quantitative aspects of Hypechiniscus diversity, which remained hidden under the two purportedly cosmopolitan species: H. gladiator and H. exarmatus. A neotype is designated for H. gladiator from Creag Meagaidh (Scotland), and an informal re-description is provided for H. exarmatus based on animals from Creag Meagaidh and the Isle of Skye (Inner Hebrides). Subspecies/forms of H. gladiator are suppressed due to the high developmental variability of the cirrus dorsalis. At the same time, four species of the genus are described: H. daedalus sp. nov. from Roan Mountain and the Great Smoky Mountains (Southern Appalachian Mountains, USA), H. flavus sp. nov. and H. geminus sp. nov. from the Yatsugatake Mountains (Honshu, Japan), and H. cataractus sp. nov. from the Malay Archipelago (Borneo and the Moluccas). Dorsal and ventral sculpturing, together with morphometric traits, are shown to be the key characters that allow for the phenotypic discrimination of species within the genus. Furthermore, the morphology of Hypechiniscus is discussed and compared to that of the most similar genera, Pseudechiniscus and Stellariscus. Finally, a diagnostic key to all recognized Hypechiniscus species is provided.

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© 2020 The Linnean Society of London, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2021, 192, 794–852 794 Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2021, 192, 794–852. With 29 figures. This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial License (, which permits non-commercial re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. For commercial re-use, please contact

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License