Article: Revision of the genus Acrochordiceras Hyatt, 1877 (Ammonoidea, Middle Triassic): morphology, biometry, biostratigraphy and intra-specific variability
Claude Monnet, Hugo Bucher, Martin Wasmer and Jean Guex
The family Acrochordiceratidae Arthaber, 1911 ranges in age from latest Spathian to the middle/late Anisian boundary, and it represents a major component of ammonoid faunas during that time. The middle Anisian genus Acrochordiceras Hyatt, 1877 is the most widespread taxon of the family and occurs abundantly worldwide within the low paleolatitude belt. However, there is a profusion of species names available for Acrochordiceras. This excessive diversity at the species level essentially results from the fact that sufficiently large samples were not available, thus leading to a typological approach to its taxonomy. Based on new extensive collections obtained from the Anisian (Middle Triassic) Fossil Hill Member (Star Peak Group, north-west Nevada) for which a high resolution biostratigraphic frame is available, the taxonomy and biostratigraphy of the genus Acrochordiceras Hyatt, 1877 is herein revised with respect to its intra-specific variation. Morphological and biometric studies (c. 550 bedrock-controlled specimens were measured) show that only one species occurs in each stratigraphic level. Continuous ranges of intra-specific variation of studied specimens enable us to synonymize Haydenites Diener, 1907, Silesiacrochordiceras Diener, 1916 and Epacrochordiceras Spath, 1934 with Acrochordiceras Hyatt, 1877. Three stratigraphically successive species are herein recognized in the low paleolatitude middle Anisian faunas from Nevada: A. hatschekii (Diener, 1907), A. hyatti Meek, 1877 and A. carolinae Mojsisovics, 1882. Moreover, an assessment of intra-specific variation of the adult size range does not support recognition of a dimorphic pair (Acrochordiceras and Epacrochordiceras) as previously suggested by other workers (Epacrochordiceras is the compressed and weakly ornamented end-member variant of Acrochordiceras). The successive middle Anisian species of Acrochordiceras form an anagenetic lineage characterized by increasing involution, adult size and intra-specific variation. This taxonomic revision based on new bedrock-controlled collections is thus an important prerequisite before studying the evolution of the group.