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Keywords:

  • Silurian;
  • Ludlow;
  • graptolites;
  • Retiolitidae;
  • Reticuloplectograptus;
  • evolution

Abstract:  The retiolitid graptolite Reticuloplectograptus serpaglii gen. et sp. nov. from the Gorstian, lower Ludlow, has been found in two localities: the Bartoszyce borehole of Poland (Baltica), and the Bykoš section, Barrandian, Czech Republic (PeriGondwanan Europe). The Polish material is isolated and was studied under the SEM. The main characters of Reticuloplectograptus are similar to those of Plectograptus: an asymmetrical ancora, simple ancora umbrella with an incompletely developed rim and parallel ventral walls with mid-ventral lists. The paired genicular processes of the new species are similar to but much wider than those of Plectograptus trijunctus and Plectograptus robustus. The main differences between the new genus and Plectograptus are the dense ancora sleeve wall and small proximal lateral orifices of the former. These primitive characters suggest that Reticuloplectograptus might be ancestral to genera with strong reduction in the proximal end, such as Plectograptus, Valentinagraptus and Kirkigraptus. However, Reticuloplectograptus appeared stratigraphically later than Plectograptus, indicating that this aspect of retiolitid evolution is more complicated, needing further study.