Re-investigation of Mimetaster hexagonalis: a marrellomorph arthropod from the Lower Devonian Hunsrück Slate (Germany)

Abstract

The arthropod Mimetaster hexagonalis Gürich, 1931 from the Lower Devonian Hunsrück Slate (Germany) is re-described. With 123 available individuals, M. hexagonalis is the most abundant non-trilobite arthropod from this Lagerstätte. New (as well as old) specimen material shows new morphological features of M. hexagonalis. The ontogeny is described based on three juvenile specimens. The growth mode is similar to that in the marrellomorph Vachonisia rogeri Lehmann, 1955. The number of trunk segments increases from juvenile to adult. The mode of life of the arthropod is re-considered. The arthropod is considered to live in groups of several individuals. A mutualistic relationship with sponges of unknown systematic affinities is most likely. An ecological interaction with tentaculitoids is recognized but needs further investigation. The phylogenetic position of M. hexagonalis as a member of the Marrellomorpha is confirmed, but remains to be explored within the broader frame of euarthropod phylogeny.

Kurzfassung

Der Arthropode Mimetaster hexagonalis Gürich, 1931 aus dem unterdevonischen Hunsrückschiefer (Deutschland) wird neu beschrieben. Mit rund 123 verfügbaren Exemplaren ist M. hexagonalis der häufigste (ausgenommen Trilobiten) Arthropode aus dieser Lagerstätte. Neues sowie bereits bekanntes Fossilmaterial zeigt neue morphologische Merkmale von M. hexagonalis. Die Ontogenie konnte anhand von drei Exemplaren beschrieben werden. Der Wachstumsmodus ähnelt dem marrellomorphen Vachonisia rogeri, Lehmann, 1955. Die Anzahl der Rumpfsegmente steigt von juvenilen zu adulten Stadien an. Die Lebensweise des Arthropoden ist ebenfalls neu betrachtet. Der Arthropode hat wahrscheinlich in Gruppen mit mehreren Individuen gelebt. Eine mutualistische Beziehung zu nicht näher bestimmbaren Schwämmen ist sehr wahrscheinlich. Eine Interaktion mit Tentakulitoiden konnte nachgewiesen werden, bedarf aber weiterer wissenschaftlicher Untersuchungen. Die phylogenetische Position von M. hexagonalis als ein Vertreter der Marrellomorpha ist bestätigt, wird aber in einem breiteren Rahmen der Phylogenie der Euarthropoden weiter erforscht.

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Abbreviations

l:

Left

r:

Right

ssp:

Sponge spicules

A1-3:

Head appendage one to three

hyp:

Hypostome

mk:

Median keel

vo:

Ventral organ

ds:

Dorsal shield

se:

Stalked eye

S1-6:

Spines of dorsal shield one to six

ten:

Trunk endopods

tex:

Trunk exopods

exs:

Exopod setae

end:

Endites

lats:

Last apodus trunk segment

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Acknowledgments

The studied specimens were kindly provided by several public and private collections: Museum of Natural History and General Department of Cultural Heritage Rhineland Palatinate, Archaeology Department, Geological History of the Earth Section, Mainz; Museum of Natural History, Karlsruhe; Museum of Natural History, Berlin; Museum of Natural History, Wien; Bavarian State Collection of Palaeontology and Geology, Munich; Schlossparkmuseum Bad Kreuznach; German Mining Museum, Bochum; Dr. Volkmar Will Rockenhausen; Woulter Suedkamp Bundenbach. We thank Dr. Michael Wuttke (General Department of Cultural Heritage Rhineland Palatinate, Department Archaeology, Section Geological History of the Earth, Mainz), Dr. Christoph Bartels (German Mining Museum, Bochum), Georg Oleschinski and Alexandra Bergmann (Steinmann Institute, Division of Palaeontology, Bonn) for photographs and radiographs. Thanks also to Dr. Herbert Lutz (Museum of Natural History, Mainz) for hints on interesting details related to the fossil material. Finally, we thank Prof. Derek E. G. Briggs (Yale University, New Haven) and an anonymous reviewer for fruitful suggestions about the manuscript. Funding was provided by the German Science Foundation (project no. RU 665/5-1).

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Correspondence to Gabriele Kühl.

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Kühl, G., Rust, J. Re-investigation of Mimetaster hexagonalis: a marrellomorph arthropod from the Lower Devonian Hunsrück Slate (Germany). Paläontol Z 84, 397–411 (2010). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12542-009-0049-x

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Keywords

  • Mimetaster hexagonalis
  • Marrellomorpha
  • Lower Devonian
  • Hunsrück Slate
  • Symbiosis

Schlüsselwörter

  • Mimetaster hexagonalis
  • Marrellomorpha
  • Unteres Devon
  • Hunsrückschiefer
  • Symbiose