Triassic Isopoda - three new species from Central Europe shed light on the early diversity of the group


Authors: Schädel M, van Eldijk T, Winkelhorst H, Reumer JWF, Haug JT

Article in press: Received 28 September 2019; Accepted in revised form 26 February 2020; Online 16 May 2020

Keywords: fossil, morphometry, Scutocoxifera, Polzberg, Winterswijk,

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Despite its vernacular names (e.g. ’woodlice’) Isopoda is a group with mostly aquatic species, with most species living in marine environments. The fossil record for isopods compared to other groups of Eucrustacea is relatively sparse. This applies even more for the Triassic. While in the Jurassic Isopoda is relatively well represented by fossils, only eight species have previously been described from the Triassic. In this study three new species of Isopoda are described from two field sites in Europe: Obtusotelson summesbergeri sp. nov. and Discosalaputium aschauerorum sp. nov. from Polzberg (Gaming, Lower Austria, Austria) and Gelrincola winterswijkensis sp. nov. from Winterswijk (Gelderland, Netherlands). All three new species are interpreted as representatives of Scutocoxifera (ingroup of Isopoda). The species Gelrincola winterswijkensis sp. nov. is further interpreted to be a representative of Cymothoida (ingroup of Scutocoxifera). Most of the oldest fossils of Isopoda belong to Phreatoicidea, which is supposed to be the sistergroup to all remaining Isopoda. Nowadays, Phreatoicidea is a small relic group, its representatives living in freshwater environments. The new species herein presented contribute to our understanding of the diversity of Isopoda in the Triassic and support the assumption that the transition from a dominance of Phreatoicidea towards the dominance of the remaining lineages of Isopoda happened quite early (likely prior to the Triassic).