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Article: Syncarid crustaceans from the Montceau Lagerstätte (Upper Carboniferous; France)

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 49
Part: 3
Publication Date: May 2006
Page(s): 647 672
Author(s): Vincent Perrier, Jean Vannier, Patrick R. Racheboeuf, Sylvain Charbonnier, Dominique Chabard and Daniel Sotty
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How to Cite

PERRIER, V., VANNIER, J., RACHEBOEUF, P. R., CHARBONNIER, S., CHABARD, D., SOTTY, D. 2006. Syncarid crustaceans from the Montceau Lagerstätte (Upper Carboniferous; France). Palaeontology49, 3, 647–672.

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Key aspects of the morphology, autecology, systematics and taphonomy of the crustacean syncarids from the Montceau Lagerstätte (Upper Carboniferous, Stephanian B; France) are presented. Palaeocaris secretanae is the most abundant faunal element of the Montceau biota and shows striking morphological similarities with Palaeocaris typus from the Mazon Creek Lagerstätte (Westphalian D; Illinois, USA). Palaeocaris secretanae was a shrimp-like animal with a short head (no head shield), large mandibles, 14 trunk segments (the first one being reduced) and a fan-like caudal termination. Both the body and the appendage design indicate abilities for crawling on the substratum (slender endopods) and for escape reaction (uropodal fan, pleonal flexibility), although swimming activities may have been reduced (trunk appendages with small flap-like exopods). Details of the appendages involved in feeding, e.g. mandibles and maxillipeds, indicate poor ability for predation but point to an omnivorous detritus feeding mode. Poorly developed respiratory organs (small cylindrical epipods) suggest a relatively low level of locomotory activity. The field of vision may have been large and panoramic (stalked eyes). Rows of pores on 12 trunk segments are interpreted as possible sensory organs used for current detection. Females were brooding eggs (clusters of eggs preserved along anteroventral trunk). Microprobe analysis indicates that siderite is the major component of the nodules. Four events played a key-role in the three-dimensional preservation of syncarids: (1) rapid burial, (2) minimal decomposition, (3) phosphatic mineralization shortly after the animal's death and (4) nodule formation around the carcass. Palaeocaris secretanae is morphologically close to Recent syncarids such Anaspides tasmaniae (freshwater streams, Australia) in its general body plan and detailed anatomy, e.g. mouth parts, indicating morphological stasis in syncarids over more than 200 million years.

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