The ontogenies of three new species of Telephinidae, Telephina calandria, Telephina chingolo, and Telephina problematica are described from Arenig-Caradoc strata in the Argentine Precordillera, and compared with the larval stages of some other Proetida, including other telephinids.
New findings reveal 1) a radical metamorphosis in the ontogenies of these Telephina species late in the meraspid period, not previously described among Trilobita; and 2) distinctive hypostomes of Telephinidae containing long, thin anterolaterally and dorsally splayed anterior wings. Early ontogenies of different species currently assigned to the genus Telephina fall into at least two distinct morphological and life history groups, and hypostomes (if correctly assigned in previous works) vary significantly. The three new species strengthen the hypothesis of a phylogenetic connection between Oopsites and Telephina.
Three morphological types of protaspid instars are described for proetide trilobites. Two are anaprotaspides, and the third is a metaprotaspis. They always occur in the same sequence in the ontogeny, but no cases are known of all three types in the same species. These larval types are important for understanding the systematics and life cycles of the Proetida. Benthic/pelagic transitions identify four life history patterns among the the Proetida. The best larval synapomorphy for the Proetida is the distinctive metaprotaspid larval type, which is absent in very few proetides (some Telephinidae), perhaps as a result of heterochronic displacement of this stage into the meraspid period.