Schischcatella (Fenestrata, Bryozoa) from the Devonian of the Rhenish Massif, Germany



Abstract:  The Devonian fenestrate bryozoan, SchischcatellaWaschurova, 1964, possessed colonies in the form of low, erect bifoliate fronds that grew from an encrusting sheet-like base with autozooecia arranged in biserial, bifurcating rows. This growth habit is unique in fenestrates, which normally had unilaminate arborescent colonies. Originally, Schischcatella was described from the Lower Devonian of Tajikistan. This article describes a new species, S. heinorum sp. nov., from the Middle Devonian of the Eifel (western Rhenish Massif, Germany) with additional material from the Lower Devonian of the Kellerwald (eastern Rhenish Massif, Germany). External and internal morphologies of this bryozoan have been studied using abundant material. The growth habit of Schischcatella suggests a completely different pattern of feeding currents than that in the normal fenestrate colony. The outflow of the filtered water occurred only on edges of colonies between rami. In the absence of chimneys (areas of vertical water expelling), such a functional morphology may have restricted extension of the colony in a distal direction. The evolution of Schischcatella is apparently an example of paedomorphosis, the genus evolved from an unknown semicosciniid species by the early ontogenetic interruption of colony development and further changes in the mode of growth.