A New “Living Fossil” Echinoid (Echinodermata) and the Ecology and Paleobiology of Caribbean Cassiduloids
Abstract:A new Recent species of cassiduloid echinoid, Eurhodia relicta, is described and illustrated from two specimens collected off Venezuela and Surinam. E. relicla is the only known living member of a genus formerly thought to have become extinct in the Late Eocene, and most closely resembles the higher-tested species of the southeastern North American and Caribbean fossil genus Eurhodia. Previously described criteria used to distinguish between the fossil cassidulids Eurhodia, Cassidulus, and Rhyncholampas are not sufficiently diagnostic when they are also applied to the Recent type species of these genera. Soft tissue and/or petaloid characters must also be employed. A review of the ecology of Caribbean cassiduloids indicates that Eurhodia burrows in terrigenous substrates, that Echinolampas and Cassidulus burrow in carbonates, and that Conolampas is an epifaunal, deeper water form living on relatively fine carbonates. The distributions of living Caribbean cassiduloids are mapped along with fossil localities for New World Eurhodia species. The occurrence of Recent Eurhodia in the southern Caribbean might be related to the same factors causing the existence of relict faunas from the northern coast of South America.
Document Type: Research Article
Publication date: May 1, 1990
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