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Article: The extraordinary trilobite Fenestraspis (Dalmanitidae, Synphoriinae) from the Lower Devonian of Bolivia

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 52
Part: 4
Publication Date: July 2009
Page(s): 933 949
Author(s): David J. Holloway and Maria da Gloria Pires de Carvalho
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How to Cite

HOLLOWAY, D. J., DE CARVALHO, M. 2009. The extraordinary trilobite Fenestraspis (Dalmanitidae, Synphoriinae) from the Lower Devonian of Bolivia. Palaeontology52, 4, 933–949.

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The hitherto poorly known, monotypic trilobite genus Fenestraspis from the Lower Devonian of Bolivia is revised and its original assignment to the Synphoriinae supported. The thoracic morphology of the genus remains very poorly known. Fenestraspis is morphologically unusual because of the development of extensive fenestrae in the pleural region of the pygidium and apparently of the thorax; the presence of upwardly directed spines on the cephalon, thorax and pygidium; and the exceptionally large and highly elevated eyes with the palpebral rim projecting outwards above the visual surface. The function of the fenestrae remains uncertain. If they formed openings in the body of the trilobite in life they may have allowed circulation of oxygenated water to the limb exites so that respiration could have been maintained while the trilobite was enrolled. If they were covered with a flexible membrane, they may have been secondary respiratory structures or had a sensory function. The Synphoriinae is regarded as a subfamily of the Dalmanitidae rather than as an independent family of the Dalmanitoidea as proposed by some authors. The type species of the poorly known monotypic genus Dalmanitoides from the Lower Devonian of Argentina is illustrated photographically for the first time and compared with Fenestraspis.
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