An appraisal of the fossil record for the Cirolanidae (Malacostraca: Peracarida: Isopoda: Cymothoida), with a description of a new cirolanid isopod crustacean from the early Miocene of the Vienna Basin (Western Carpathians)


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Abstract:  Isopod crustaceans are rarely preserved in the fossil record. Herein, an appraisal of the fossil record for the cirolanid isopods is presented. Five genera are briefly discussed, including Bathynomus, Brunnaega, Palaega, Pseudopalaega and Cirolana. A key for the cirolanid genera known to date from the fossil record is provided based mostly on pleotelson characters. From the early Miocene of the Slovak part of the Vienna Basin, Cirolana feldmanni sp. nov. is described being only the fifth fossil Cirolana species known to date and one of the few with preserved appendages. The material exhibits preservation suggesting biphasic moulting; the mode of preservation suggests a rather short time between shedding the posterior and anterior parts of the exoskeleton instead of hours or even days known in extant taxa. As no subsequent transport or physical disturbance was inferred, the specimens can be stated as in situ preservation. From the palaeoecological point of view, it is concluded that Cirolana feldmanni sp. nov. is the first unequivocal fossil deep-water Cirolana as suggested by the accompanied fauna.