The fossil record of Glypturus Stimpson, 1866 (Crustacea, Decapoda, Axiidea, Callianassidae) revisited, with notes on palaeoecology and palaeobiogeography


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Abstract:  The fossil record of the callianassid genus Glypturus (Decapoda, Axiidea) is re-evaluated. Our systematic revision, both of extant and fossil taxa, is based on major cheliped morphology only, thus providing an important impetus for palaeontological studies. Both spination and tuberculation of chelipeds are herein considered of great taxonomic importance. Presence of spines on the upper margins of the merus and propodus and the lower margin of the carpus are significant for generic assignment, whereas the extent of tuberculation on lateral surfaces of the propodus is important for assignment at the species level. Altogether, four extant and six exclusively fossil species of Glypturus are recognized. Several extinct callianassid taxa are now transferred to the genus, namely Callianassa berryi, Callianassa fraasi, Callianassa munieri, Callianassa pugnax and Callianassaspinosa; Callianassa pseudofraasi is considered a junior synonym of C. fraasi. Based on a comparison of ecological preferences of extant representatives, the presence of Glypturus in the fossil record is considered to be linked with tropical to subtropical, nearshore carbonate environments of normal salinity. We argue that Glypturus is of Tethyan origin, with a stratigraphical range going as far back as the Eocene. Since then, the genus migrated both westwards and eastwards, establishing present-day communities in the western Atlantic and Indo-West Pacific which both comprise several distinct species. In the presumed area of origin, the genus does no longer occur today. The exlusively fossil (middle Eocene) genus Eoglypturus from Italy is considered closely related to Glypturus and is thus assigned to the subfamily Callichirinae as well.