, Volume 100, Issue 9, pp 811-825
Date: 27 Jul 2013

Kodymirus and the case for convergence of raptorial appendages in Cambrian arthropods

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Abstract

Kodymirus vagans Chlupáč and Havlíček in Sb Geol Ved Paleontol 6:7–20, 1965 is redescribed as an aglaspidid-like arthropod bearing a single pair of enlarged raptorial appendages, which are shown to be the second cephalic appendage. A number of early Palaeozoic arthropods, recognized from predominantly Cambrian Konservat-Lagerstätten, are known to have borne single pairs of large raptorial appendages. They are well established for the iconic yet problematic anomalocarids, the common megacheirans, and the ubiquitous bivalved Isoxys. Further taxa, such as fuxianhuiids and Branchiocaris, have been reported to have single pairs of specialized cephalic appendages, i.e., appendages differentiated from a largely homonomous limbs series, members of which act in metachronal motion. The homology of these raptorial appendages across these Cambrian arthropods has often been assumed, despite differences in morphology. Thus, anomalocaridids, for instance, have long multiarticulate “frontal appendages” consisting of many articles bearing an armature of paired serial spines, while megacheirans and Isoxys have short “great appendages” consisting of few articles with well-developed endites or elongate fingers. Homology of these appendages would require them to belong to the same cephalic segment. We argue based on morphological evidence that, to the contrary, the raptorial appendages of some of these taxa can be shown to belong to different cephalic segments and are the result of convergence in life habits. K. vagans is yet another important example for this, representing an instance for this morphology from a marginal marine environment.

Communicated by: Sven Thatje