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Type: Journal article
Title: Arthropod visual predators in the early pelagic ecosystem: evidence from the Burgess Shale and Chengjiang biotas
Author: Vannier, J.
Garcia-Bellido, D.
Hu, S.
Chen, A.
Citation: Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 2009; 276(1667):2567-2574
Publisher: The Royal Society
Issue Date: 2009
ISSN: 0962-8452
Statement of
J. Vannier, D.C. García-Bellido, S.-X. Hu and A.-L. Chen
Abstract: Exceptional fossil specimens with preserved soft parts from the Maotianshan Shale (ca 520 Myr ago) and the Burgess Shale (505 Myr ago) biotas indicate that the worldwide distributed bivalved arthropod Isoxys was probably a non-benthic visual predator. New lines of evidence come from the functional morphology of its powerful prehensile frontal appendages that, combined with large spherical eyes, are thought to have played a key role in the recognition and capture of swimming or epibenthic prey. The swimming and steering of this arthropod was achieved by the beating of multiple setose exopods and a flap-like telson. The appendage morphology of Isoxys indicates possible phylogenetical relationships with the megacheirans, a widespread group of assumed predator arthropods characterized by a pre-oral ‘great appendage’. Evidence from functional morphology and taphonomy suggests that Isoxys was able to migrate through the water column and was possibly exploiting hyperbenthic niches for food. Although certainly not unique, the case of Isoxys supports the idea that off-bottom animal interactions such as predation, associated with complex feeding strategies and behaviours (e.g. vertical migration and hunting) were established by the Early Cambrian. It also suggests that a prototype of a pelagic food chain had already started to build-up at least in the lower levels of the water column.
Keywords: Arthropoda; Cambrian; Chengjiang; Burgess Shale; predation; food chain
Rights: © 2009 The Royal Society
DOI: 10.1098/rspb.2009.0361
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Appears in Collections:Aurora harvest 7
Earth and Environmental Sciences publications

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