A new crustacean, Castracollis wilsonae is described from a loose block of the Early Devonian Rhynie chert, found in the vicinity of Rhynie, Aberdeenshire, Scotland. It differs markedly from Lepidocaris rhyniensis, Scourfield 1926, the only other crustacean found in the Rhynie chert.
The material comprises complete individuals up to 8 mm long and fragmentary remains. The head is normally damaged and detached from the body, and damage to the anterior of the trunk suggests the specimens are exuviae. The head appears domed with a labrum, robust mandibles, and long biramous antennae. A few specimens exhibit a probable detached cephalo-thoracicshield. The trunk is multi-segmented, comprising similar ring-like somites. The thorax variably comprises up to 26 segments. The anterior 11 segments possess similar long, phyllopodous appendages, the remainder variably possess 10 to 15 phyllopodous appendages with a disposition of one per somite. The abdomen comprises up to 28 apodous segments. The posterior of the body comprises a telson with two furcal rami.
The crustacean is most probably a calmanostracan branchiopod. It occurs associated with Lepidocaris, charophytes, cyanobacteria and coprolites within a ‘clotted’ chert texture, indicating subaqueous deposition, most probably in a temporary freshwater pool in an area of surficial hydrothermal activity.
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