The Munidopsidae, one of three squat lobster families in the Galatheoidea, contains the deepest dwelling squat lobsters, with some occurring at abyssal depths. Munidopsids were formerly divided into two subfamilies: Shinkaiinae, for the unusual hydrothermal vent genus Shinkaia; and Munidopsinae for remaining taxa. Four munidopsid genera are currently recognised (Shinkaia, Leiogalathea, Galacantha and Munidopsis) but the largest genus, Munidopsis, is highly diverse morphologically, with multiple genera or subgenera currently in its synonymy. Phylogenetic studies of galatheoids focussed on high level relationships indicate that Leiogalathea is sister to other munidopsids, but the position of Shinkaia with respect to Munidopsis and Galacantha is unclear, as is the reciprocal monophyly of the latter two genera. Phylogenetic analyses of the Munidopsidae based on mitochondrial 16S and COI sequences, sampling all current genera (including the majority of the formerly recognised subgenera), indicate that the generic and former subfamily classifications do not reflect the phylogeny. Shinkaia and Galacantha clades are nested within Munidopsis rendering the genus paraphyletic and the bi-subfamily classification phylogenetically invalid. Many of the Munidopsis clades recovered, however, correspond well to formerly recognised genera or subgenera, indicating good prospects for a natural subdivision of Munidopsis.
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