Aim  This paper reports the presence of Artemia franciscana (Kellogg, 1906) in Mar Chiquita (CHI) salt lake and in Las Tunas (TUN) lagoon, as well as at a shallow lake in Salinas Grandes (Province of Cordoba) in Argentina. To date, this species has been considered absent from Argentina. This study also provides further data on the characterization of the A. franciscana populations from this area. Location  Province of Cordoba (Argentina). Methods  The cyst samples collected at the three hypersaline environments were measured to assess its mean diameter with a dissecting microscope. The length of the nauplii hatched from the cysts was also determined with the microscope. The adults raised from these nauplii under strictly controlled conditions were analysed for 12 morphological parameters and compared through multivariate discriminant analysis with other American populations. Fatty acids from the total lipids were analysed by gas chromatography. Reproductive compatibility was evaluated from single-pair intraspecific and interspecific crosses of adult specimens. Results  The results endorse the morphometric assimilation of the Artemia populations of this area to other American populations of the A. franciscana‘super-species’, together with its morphometric differentiation from the species A. persimilis (Piccinelli & Prosdocimi, 1968). The more conspicuous population from CHI shows cross-fertility with A. franciscana original from San Francisco Bay (California, USA). Both populations from CHI and TUN show cross-fertility between them and reproductive isolation with A. persimilis from Hidalgo (Province of La Pampa), which to date is considered to be endemic or exclusive of hypersaline ecosystems in Argentina. The reproductive characteristics displayed by the population from TUN lagoon suggest the existence of an occasional hybridization between A. franciscana and A. persimilis (Papeschi et al., 2000). Artemia cysts from CHI and TUN show a fatty acid profile rich in eicosapentaenoic acid differing markedly from the fatty acid profiles found in A. persimilis cysts. Main conclusions: Artemia franciscana is present in Argentina at 36° S and north of this latitude. Artemia persimilis is confined to the south of latitude 37°10′ S. There are different pieces of evidence that point to a certain level of hybridization of the two species taking place in the land belt between these parallels.

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