Ordovician Petraster Billings, 1858 (Asteroidea: Echinodermata) and early asteroid skeletal differentiation

Daniel B. BLAKE & Bertrand LEFEBVRE

en Comptes Rendus Palevol 23 (17) - Pages 217-239

Published on 29 May 2024

A large and taxonomically diverse collection of Ordovician Asterozoa from France and Morocco enables new insights into the early evolution of the subphylum. Available specimens of both Asteroidea and Stenuroidea are comparatively few, the collection dominated by Ophiuroidea and to a lesser extent, Somasteroidea. Nearly all the asteroid specimens are assigned to Petraster Billings, 1858; P. caidramiensis n. sp. is differentiated based on the complexity of the extraxial skeleton. The genus Petraster is reviewed. Another asteroid fragment, Euaxosida sp. A, is too incomplete to assign below the ordinal level. Among species of Petraster, the extraxial skeleton suggests homoplastic emergence of ossicular series definition whereas evolution of ambulacral axial-adaxial series expressions was conservative. The stemward asteroid axial/adaxial configuration is considered largely a plesiomorphic derivative of the somasteroid condition. Ossicular details of all series, however, differ among Petraster species. Euaxosida sp. A also offers oral-surface expressions suggestive of a transitional status. Differences among ossicular series expressions exemplify concerns surrounding interpretation of early asterozoan phylogeny and taxonomy.


Asteroidea, Euaxosida, Ordovician, morphological evolution, new species

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