Anamorphic development and extended parental care in a 520 million-year-old stem-group euarthropod from China.
Daley, Allison C
BMC Evol Biol
Springer Science and Business Media LLC
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Fu, D., Ortega-Hernández, J., Daley, A. C., Zhang, X., & Shu, D. (2018). Anamorphic development and extended parental care in a 520 million-year-old stem-group euarthropod from China.. [Journal Article]. https://doi.org/10.1186/s12862-018-1262-6
BACKGROUND: Extended parental care is a complex reproductive strategy in which progenitors actively look after their offspring up to - or beyond - the first juvenile stage in order to maximize their fitness. Although the euarthropod fossil record has produced several examples of brood-care, the appearance of extended parental care within this phylum remains poorly constrained given the scarcity of developmental data for Palaeozoic stem-group representatives that would link juvenile and adult forms in an ontogenetic sequence. RESULTS: Here, we describe the post-embryonic growth of Fuxianhuia protensa from the early Cambrian Chengjiang Lagerstätte in South China. Our data demonstrate anamorphic post-embryonic development for F. protensa, in which new tergites were sequentially added from a posterior growth zone, the number of tergites varies from eight to 30. The growth of F. protensa is typified by the alternation between segment addition, followed by the depletion of the anteriormost abdominal segment into the thoracic region. The transformation of abdominal into thoracic tergite is demarcated by the development of laterally tergopleurae, and biramous walking legs. The new ontogeny data leads to the recognition of the rare Chengjiang euarthropod Pisinnocaris subconigera as a junior synonym of Fuxianhuia. Comparisons between different species of Fuxianhuia and with other genera within Fuxianhuiida suggest that heterochrony played a prominent role in the morphological diversification of fuxianhuiids. Functional analogy with the flexible trunk ontogeny of Cambrian and Silurian olenimorphic trilobites suggests an adaptation to sporadic low oxygen conditions in Chengjiang deposits for F. protensa. Finally, understanding the growth of F. protensa allows for the interpretation of an exceptional life assemblage consisting of a sexually mature adult alongside four ontogenetically coeval juveniles, which constitutes the oldest occurrence of extended parental care by prolonged cohabitation in the panarthropod fossil record. CONCLUSIONS: Our findings constitute the most detailed characterization of the post-embryonic development in a soft-bodied upper stem-group euarthropod available to date. The new ontogeny data illuminates the systematics, trunk segmentation and palaeoecology of F. protensa, offers insights on the macroevolutionary processes involved in the diversification of this clade, and contributes towards an improved understanding of complex post-embryonic reproductive ecology in Cambrian euarthropods.
External DOI: https://doi.org/10.1186/s12862-018-1262-6
This record's DOI: https://doi.org/10.17863/CAM.30342
Rights Holder: The Author(s).