Article: Spinicaudatans and ostracods (Crustacea) from the Montceau Lagerstätte (Late Carboniferous, France): morphology and palaeoenvironmental significance
Spinicaudatans and ostracods form two components of the diverse arthropod fauna from the Montceau Lagerstätte (Stephanian, France). Spinicaudatans are represented by Montcestheria orri gen. and sp. nov. and Euestheria feysi sp. nov., and ostracods by a single species, Carbonita sp. aff. salteriana (Jones, 1862). Allied forms such as Montcestheria sp. aff. orri, Montcestheria sp. and Euestheria cebennensis (Grand'Eury, 1890), all from coeval localities in France, are also described. Montcestheria gen. nov. has carapace features, external (possibly sexual) dimorphism, preserved soft parts (e.g. appendages, gut) and resting eggs similar to those of Recent spinicaudatans, suggesting comparable lifestyles, reproductive strategies and feeding modes. Detailed anatomical comparisons are made with Cyzicus tetracerus from Recent ephemeral freshwater ponds. The ostracods belong to the Superfamily Carbonitoidea, which is a recurrent component of Carboniferous non-marine biotas. Spinicaudatan-rich assemblages typically occur in several Westphalian–Stephanian Lagerstätten (including Montceau) and localities from Europe and North America, where freshwater conditions prevailed, indicating that the group had already colonized continental waters by the Late Carboniferous. Similarities with the fauna from Recent temporary freshwater ponds (e.g. low diversity/high density spinicaudatan-ostracod populations, synchronous spinicaudatan populations developing from resting eggs, high diversity/low density insects, amphibians) suggest the presence of temporary or ephemeral aquatic environments at Montceau as part of a complex limnic ecosystem. Flooding may have been the main driving force by which faunal and floral elements drifted away from their respective biotopes into the depositional areas, thus explaining the co-occurrence of terrestrial (e.g. myriapods, scorpions, plants), amphibian and aquatic (e.g. conchostracans and syncarids from temporary and permanent settings, respectively) elements in fossil assemblages.