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Article: Reinterpretation of Dracochela deprehendor (Arachnida: Pseudoscorpiones) as a stem-group pseudoscorpion

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 55
Part: 2
Publication Date: March 2012
Page(s): 261 283
Author(s): Mark L. I. Judson
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How to Cite

JUDSON, M. L. I. 2012. Reinterpretation of Dracochela deprehendor (Arachnida: Pseudoscorpiones) as a stem-group pseudoscorpion. Palaeontology55, 2, 261–283.

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The middle Devonian (Givetian–Eifelian) pseudoscorpion Dracochela deprehendor Schawaller, Shear and Bonamo is redescribed from the type material and an additional palpal fragment. Dracochela differs from extant pseudoscorpions in having numerous spinules on the leg tarsi, the femur at least as long as the patella on the posterior legs, the stem of the arolia thick, most blades of the serrulae only weakly fused and in lacking a spinneret on the chelicera. The blades of the cheliceral rallum are shown to have been arranged in two rows, as in most Heterosphyronida. The cheliceral serrulae are compared with analogous structures in other arachnids (Notostigmata, Opiliones, Palpigradi, Schizomida and Scorpiones), and it is concluded that the panctenal state (all lamellae attached to finger) is plesiomorphic relative to the hemictenal state (apical lamellae raised), which has evolved independently in Heterosphyronida and Neobisioidea. The trichobothriotaxy of the chela of Dracochela is shown to be similar to that of the extant family Pseudotyrannochthoniidae. The growth of the chelal fingers followed the same pattern as that seen in modern pseudoscorpions, with most of the increase in length occurring at the base of the fingers. The family Dracochelidae Schawaller, Shear and Bonamo is treated as a plesion and assigned to the stem-group of Pseudoscorpiones. The ordinal name Chelonethi Thorell is restricted to crown-group pseudoscorpions, and the superordinal name Pseudoscorpiones Latreille is adopted for the total-group (i.e. stem-group plus Chelonethi).
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