• Leanchoilia;
  • arthropod;
  • ‘great appendages’;
  • midgut glands;
  • Burgess Shale;
  • Cambrian

Abstract:  The collection, since 1975, of over 1500 specimens of Leanchoilia Walcott by the Royal Ontario Museum has prompted reassessment of the genus and its species from the Middle Cambrian Burgess Shale. Among new characters in Leanchoilia superlata, the type species, are the presence of two pairs of eyes, a dorsal double carina bracketing the axis of the body segments, segmentation of the gill branch of the appendages, and serration along the body edges from the posterior third of the cephalic shield to the last body segment. Leanchoilia persephone Simonetta, previously synonymized with L. superlata, is also well represented in the Burgess Shale, and is re-established as a valid species, owing to conspicuous differences from the type species. These are the absence of the diagnostic up-curving snout of the cephalic shield, the absence of carina, the shorter ‘great appendages’, the smooth edges of the body, and its overall shape in dorsal aspect. Leanchoilia superlata and L. persephone may be sexual dimorphs of each other. The ROM collections extend considerably the geographical distribution and stratigraphic range of Leanchoilia in western Canada.