Revision of “Bellinuruscarteri (Chelicerata: Xiphosura) from the Late Devonian of Pennsylvania, USA

Russell D. C. Bicknell, Lorenzo LUSTRI & Tom BROUGHAM

en Comptes Rendus Palevol 18 (8) - Pages 967-976

Published on 31 December 2019

Horseshoe crabs are an iconic group of marine chelicerates that have an impressive fossil record extending back to at least the Lower Ordovician. Despite their long fossil record and associated palaeontological interest, a range of fossil horseshoe crab taxa erected in the 19th and 20th centuries have remained understudied. Recent phylogenetic hypotheses have led to improvements in the understanding of xiphosuran origins and evolutionary history; however, the resolution among the basal-most Devonian-aged members remains poor. Here, the type specimen of “Bellinuruscarteri Eller, 1940 from the Late Devonian of Pennsylvania is reconsidered. Based on a revised morphological description and comparison, we conclude that the species is not referable to the genus Bellinurus and erected a new genus: Pickettia gen. nov. A phylogenetic analysis resolves Pickettia carteri within a polytomy containing taxa previously considered to comprise the group Kasibelinuridae, but which is currently a paraphyletic assemblage. We discuss P. carteri within the context of other stem xiphosurids and conclude that the diversity of this assemblage has been overstated. The redescription of P. carteri highlights the need for more inclusive studies to resolve the evolutionary relationships of stem xiphosurids.


Late Devonian, Pickettia, Cattaraugus Formation, Pennsylvania, Famennian, Stem Xiphosurida

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