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, 5 (6), 841-4

High-fidelity X-ray Micro-Tomography Reconstruction of Siderite-Hosted Carboniferous Arachnids


High-fidelity X-ray Micro-Tomography Reconstruction of Siderite-Hosted Carboniferous Arachnids

Russell Garwood et al. Biol Lett.


A new approach to maximize data recovery from siderite-hosted fossils is presented. Late Carboniferous trigonotarbids (Arachnida: Trigonotarbida) from Coseley, UK, were chosen to assess the potential of high-resolution X-ray micro-tomography (XMT). Three-dimensional computer reconstruction visualizes the animals at 20 microm or better resolution, resolving subtle and previously unseen details. Novel data recovered includes (possibly plesiomorphic) retention of endites on leg coxae of Cryptomartus hindi (Anthracomartidae) and highlights further similarities between this family and the Devonian Palaeocharinidae. Also revealed is a flattened body with robust anterior limbs, implying a hunting stance similar to modern crab spiders (Thomisidae). Eophrynus prestvicii (Eophrynidae) had more gracile limbs but a heavily ornamented body, with newly identified upward-pointing marginal spines on the opisthosoma. Its habitus is comparable with certain modern laniatorid harvestmen (Opiliones). These findings demonstrate the potential of XMT to revolutionize the study of siderite-hosted Coal Measures fossils.


Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Digital visualizations of Carboniferous trigonotarbids. (a) Stereo-pair showing Cryptomartus hindi in dorsal view (NHM In22841); (b) C. hindi ventral view; (c) Eophrynus prestivicii ventral view (BU699); (d) E. prestivicii stereo-pair dorsal view; (e) E. prestivicii posterior dorsal view, legs removed; (f) C. hindi anterior view; (g) C. hindi endites, body removed; (h) C. hindi pedipalps. (ad,f): scale bar, 5 mm; (g,h): scale bar, 1 mm. (e) Maximum width 15 mm. TC, tarsal claw; US, upward pointing spines; LE, lateral eye tubercles; ME, median eye tubercle; L1–L4, limbs; Cl, clypeus; LN1–3, lateral notches; Ch, chelicerae; VS, ventral sacs; Pg, pygidium; VR, ventral ridge; DR, dorsal ridge; MR, lobed median ridge; C, coxa; E, endite; CE1–4, coxal endites; 1–12, segment number.
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
Idealized reconstructions based on digital visualizations. Dorsal view: (a) C. hindi and (b) E. prestvicii. Scale bar, 5 mm.

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