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Nützel et al., 2023

On Paleozoic platycerate gastropods

Nützel, A., Ebbestad, J. O., Seuss, B., Munnecke, A., Mapes, R. H., Cook, A. G.
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The platycerate gastropods Orthonychia yutaroi Ebbestad, sp. nov. (Ordovician, Boda Limestone, Sweden), O. enorme (Silurian, Sweden, Gotland), O. parva (Pennsylvanian, Finis Shale Member, USA), and Orthonychia sp. (Mississippian, Imo Formation, USA) are studied including their protoconch morphology. Orthonychia yutaroi is the oldest known species in Orthonychia. Platycerates contain species with both, openly and tightly coiled protoconchs. This is the first report that tightly coiled protoconchs occur in Orthonychia. This and previously published observations blur the diagnostic difference between orders Cyrtoneritimorpha (openly coiled protoconch) and Cycloneritimorpha (tightly coiled protoconch). We suggest to treat Cyrtoneritimorpha and Cycloneritimorpha as synonyms of Neritimorpha. The monotypic Devonian genus Pragoserpulina is morphological so close to the Orthonychia species reported herein that synonymy of both genera seems to be possible (and thus of the families Pragoserpulinidae and Orthonychiidae). Protoconch morphology and dimensions suggest that the studied platycerate species had planktotrophic larval development. By contrast, two studied Carboniferous euomphaloid species (one with an openly and the other with tightly coiled protoconch) have paucispiral, large protoconchs indicating non-planktotrophic larval development. We assume that openly and tightly coiled protoconchs were present in various Paleozoic gastropod clades and that selection acted against the openly coiled protoconch morphology. It has previously been proposed that increasing predation pressure in the plankton was the reason for the demise of openly coiled protoconchs (Paleozoic plankton revolution). The presence of larval planktotrophy in platycerates excludes the possibility that they belong to extant basal gastropod clades such as Patellogastropoda, Cocculiniformia, and Vetigastropoda. However, a previously proposed close relationship to Neritimorpha is corroborated.

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