Biogeography of the Late Triassic wallowaconchid megalodontoid bivalves



Discoveries of Late Triassic alatoform bivalves (family Wallowaconchidae) in Alaska and in south Asia and Arabia reveal a broad distribution for these tropical bivalves, overturning the concept of these bivalves being endemics of offshore island arc terranes in eastern Panthalassa. They occupied an area extending from central Tethys to the eastern Pacific margin of Panthalassa. The Tethyan wallowaconchids occur in nearshore environments on the north margin of Gondwana, indicating an environmental tolerance for continental shelf settings in addition to their primary occurrence on isolated oceanic islands. The new sites reveal a taxonomic diversity among wallowaconchids. Wallowaconchids present in India are conspecific with Wallowaconcha raylenea, the type species of Wallowaconcha, whereas wallowaconchids in Arabia are an undescribed taxon and wallowaconchids in south-central Alaska are small in size and a different undescribed taxon. All known wallowaconchids are of Norian age and they appear to be a wide-ranging component of Late Triassic tropical biotas.