Development Genes and Evolution

, Volume 222, Issue 5, pp 253–268

A holomorph approach to xiphosuran evolution—a case study on the ontogeny of Euproops

  • Carolin Haug
  • Peter Van Roy
  • Angelika Leipner
  • Peter Funch
  • David M. Rudkin
  • Lothar Schöllmann
  • Joachim T. Haug
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s00427-012-0407-7

Cite this article as:
Haug, C., Van Roy, P., Leipner, A. et al. Dev Genes Evol (2012) 222: 253. doi:10.1007/s00427-012-0407-7

Abstract

Specimens of Euproops sp. (Xiphosura, Chelicerata) from the Carboniferous Piesberg quarry near Osnabrück, Germany, represent a relatively complete growth series of 10 stages. Based on this growth sequence, morphological changes throughout the ontogeny can be identified. The major change affects the shape of the epimera of the opisthosoma. In earlier stages, they appear very spine-like, whereas in later stages the bases of these spine-like structures become broader; the broadened bases are then successively drawn out distally. In the most mature stage known, the epimera are of trapezoidal shape and approach each other closely to form a complete flange around the thoracetron (=fused tergites of the opisthosoma). These ontogenetic changes question the taxonomic status of different species of Euproops, as the latter appear to correspond to different stages of the ontogenetic series reconstructed from the Piesberg specimens. This means that supposed separate species could, in fact, represent different growth stages of a single species. It could alternatively indicate that heterochrony (=evolutionary change of developmental timing) plays an important role in the evolution of Xiphosura. We propose a holomorph approach, i.e., reconstructing ontogenetic sequences for fossil and extant species as a sound basis for a taxonomic, phylogenetic, and evolutionary discussion of Xiphosura.

Keywords

Euproops danae Euproops rotundatus Fossilized ontogeny Tagmatisation Hapantotype 

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  • Carolin Haug
    • 1
  • Peter Van Roy
    • 2
    • 3
  • Angelika Leipner
    • 4
  • Peter Funch
    • 5
  • David M. Rudkin
    • 6
  • Lothar Schöllmann
    • 7
  • Joachim T. Haug
    • 1
  1. 1.Zoological Institute and Museum, Department of Cytology and Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of GreifswaldGreifswaldGermany
  2. 2.Department of Geology and Geophysics, Kline Geology LaboratoryYale UniversityNew HavenUSA
  3. 3.Research Unit Palaeontology, Department of Geology and Soil ScienceGhent UniversityGhentBelgium
  4. 4.Museum am SchölerbergOsnabrückGermany
  5. 5.Department of BioscienceAarhus UniversityAarhus CDenmark
  6. 6.Department of Natural History (Palaeobiology)Royal Ontario MuseumTorontoCanada
  7. 7.LWL-Museum für NaturkundeMünsterGermany

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