Article: First record of an Early Barremian caprinid rudist from Japan - implications for the palaeobiogeography of the Caprinidae
Pachytraga Paquier, 1900, the stratigraphically oldest genus of caprinine caprinid rudist, was previously known from only two chronospecies from a single lineage, that is the Hauterivian P. tubiconcha Astre, 1961 and the early Aptian P. paradoxa (Pictet and Campiche, 1869). Here, a new species, Pachytraga? tanakahitoshii, is erected on the basis of isolated left valves recovered from the Osaka and Sanchu areas, south-west Japan. This species has a moderate shell size (antero-posterior commissural diameter c. 30 mm), and its left valve is characterized by at least one possibly autapomorphic character (narrow anterior myophore, inclined inwards), as well as a mosaic of primitive (single longitudinal carina developed on the anterior side) and derived (simple marginal canals in the antero-dorsal valve margin) characters of Mediterranean and Middle East Tethyan Pachytraga. The Japanese Pachytraga? represents the first probable record of this genus outside the Mediterranean/Middle Eastern Tethyan province, and its early Barremian age partly fills the ‘gap’ in its previously known stratigraphical record, although the evolutionary relationship of the Japanese form with Mediterranean and Middle East Tethyan Pachytraga remains unsolved. However, the discovery of early Barremian Pachytraga? in Japan indicates that the evolutionary history of the genus is more complex than previously thought and should thus be discussed in a broader palaeogeographical context that must now include the Pacific.