Acta Palaeontologica Polonica

A new Mississippian hexactinellid sponge from the western Gondwana: Taxonomic and paleobiogeographic implications

Marcelo G. Carrera, Juan Jose Rustán, N. Emilio Vaccari, and Miguel Ezpeleta

Acta Palaeontologica Polonica in press
available online 06 Feb 2018 doi:

A Mississippian hexactinellid sponge from the western Argentina improves the extremely poor late Paleozoic sponge records from Gondwana. The sponge is included in the subfamily Thysanodictyinae of family Dictyospongiidae. The  new genus and species Minitaspongia parvis is erected, and its well-preserved spicular structure is described in detail representing the first approximation of the spicule assemblage in Thysanodictyinae. The skeleton is clathrate, three-dimensional with at least two ranks of rectangular openings. This first report of this subfamily outside North America represents the best-known hexactinellid and the first dictyosponge record from the Carboniferous of Gondwana. Unlike the occurrences of Thysanodictyinae in North America, with thick skeletons linked to high-energy shallow water settings, Minitaspongia occurs in low-energy water siliciclastic settings related to a cold climate and glacimarine deposits. Accordingly, the complex wall structure of this sponge should not be invoked as a necessary adaptation to high energy and shallow water settings.

Key words: Porifera, Hexactinellida, Reticulosa, Carboniferous, Mississippian, Argentina.

Marcelo G. Carrera [], CICTERRA-CONICET Universidad Nacional de Córdoba, Facultad de Ciencias Exactas Físicas y Naturales, Av. Vélez Sarfield 1611, Ciudad Universitaria, 5016, Córdoba, Argentina. Juan José Rustan [], N. Emilio Vaccari [], and Miguel Ezpeleta [], CICTERRA-CONICET Universidad Nacional de Córdoba and Universidad Nacional de La Rioja, Av. Luis M. de la Fuente s/n, Ciudad Universitaria, 5300, La Rioja, Argentina.

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