Intraspecific variation and taphonomic alteration in the Cambrian (Furongian) agnostoid Lotagnostus americanus: new information from China


Authors: Peng SC, Babcock LE, Zhu XJ, Ahlberg P, Terfelt F, Dai T

Published in: Bulletin of Geosciences, volume 90, issue 2; pages: 281 - 306; Received 31 January 2014; Accepted in revised form 14 November 2014; Online 9 February 2015

Keywords: Cambrian, Furongian, agnostoid, Lotagnostus americanus, China, Quebec,

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The concept of the agnostoid arthropod species Lotagnostus americanus (Billings, 1860), which has been reported from numerous localities in the upper Furongian Series (Cambrian) of Laurentia, Gondwana, Baltica, Avalonia, and Siberia, is reviewed with emphasis on morphologic and taphonomic information afforded by large collections from Hunan in South China, Xinjiang in Northwest China, and Zhejiang in Southeast China. Comparisons are made with type and topotype material from Quebec, Canada, as well as material from elsewhere in Canada, the USA, the United Kingdom, Sweden, Russia, and Kazakhstan. The new information clarifies the limits of morphologic variability in L. americanus owing to ontogenetic changes and variation within holaspides, including inferred microevolution. It also provides details on apparent variation of taphonomic origin. The Chinese collections demonstrate a moderately wide variation in L. americanus, indicating that arguments favoring restriction of Lotagnostus species to narrowly defined, geographically restricted forms are unwarranted. Species described as L. trisectus (Salter, 1864), L. asiaticus Troedsson, 1937, and L. punctatus Lu, 1964, for example, fall within the range of variation observed in L. americanus, and are regarded as junior synonyms. The effaced form Lotagnostus obscurus Palmer, 1955 is removed from synonymy with L. americanus. A review of the stratigraphic distribution of L. americanus as construed here shows that the earliest occurrences of the species in all regions of the world are nearly synchronous.


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