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An aglaspidid arthropod from the Upper Ordovician of Morocco with remarks on the affinities and limitations of Aglaspidida

  • Peter Van Roy (a1)

Abstract

A new aglaspidid arthropod, Chlupacaris dubia gen. et sp. nov., is described from the Pusgillian (lower Ashgill, Upper Ordovician) Upper Tiouririne Formation near Erfoud, southeastern Morocco. Although disarticulated, careful documenting of the tergites allows a reconstruction of the exoskeleton to be made. Although somewhat trilobite-like in appearance, the lack of facial sutures, a well-defined axis with articulating half-rings and a pygidium clearly prove Chlupacaris gen. nov. is not a trilobite. An interesting feature is the presence of a hypostome in this non-trilobite arthropod. In contrast to other aglaspidids usually considered to be carnivorous, a filter-feeding mode of life is proposed for Chlupacaris gen. nov., based on the strongly vaulted cephalon, subvertical orientation of the hypostome and less strongly vaulted trunk. Chlupacaris gen. nov. is probably most closely related to the atypical aglaspidid Tremaglaspis unite from the Tremadoc (Lower Ordovician) of the U.K., but it can also be tentatively linked to the problematic Lower Cambrian arthropods Kodymirus vagans and Kockurus grandis from the Czech Republic. The relevance and validity of previous definitions and of possibly significant characters used for identifying aglaspidids are evaluated, and as a result, a new combination of characters diagnosing Aglaspidida is proposed. Contrary to previous reports, it is suggested that aglaspidids are probably more closely related to trilobites than they are to chelicerates. This notion may be supported by the shared possession of a mineralised cuticle, a possibly similar number of cephalic appendages, and the presence of a hypostome in some forms, although this last character may alternatively be homoplastic.

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An aglaspidid arthropod from the Upper Ordovician of Morocco with remarks on the affinities and limitations of Aglaspidida

  • Peter Van Roy (a1)

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