Acta Palaeontologica Polonica

A new giant discinoid brachiopod from the Lower Devonian of Algeria

Michal Mergl and Dominique Massa

Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 50 (2), 2005: 397-402

A new discinoid brachiopod Gigadiscina gen. nov., with the type species G. lessardi sp. nov. is described from the Lower Devonian (Siegenian) of the Tamesna Basin (South Ahaggar Massif, South Algeria ). It is characterised by large size and convexo-planar profile of the shell, with a subcentral pedicle foramen. Micro-ornament is typically discinoid, with small circular pits in radial rows on the post-larval shell surface. Related species of Malvinokaffric Realm origin from South Africa, Falkland Islands, Antarctica, South America, and Libya are reviewed, including the poorly known Discina anomala from the Lower Devonian of Germany. The giant size and convexo-planar shells of these discinoids, remarkably similar to recent limpets, are interpreted as adaptation to a habitat in proximity of sandy and gravel beaches in a high-energy environment. Most likely, the conical dorsal valve suppressed drag in turbulent waters, whereas fixation of shell by large, sucker-like pedicle eliminated peeling from substrate.

Key words: Brachiopoda, Discinoidea, Devonian, Algeria, Germany.

Michal Mergl [], Department of Biology, University of West Bohemia, Klatovska 51, 30614, Plzeň, Czech Republic; Dominique Massa, 6 Rue J.J. Rousseau, Suresnes, 92150 France.

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