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Morphology, taxonomy, and classification of the order Eurypterida Burmeister, 1843

  • V. P. Tollerton (a1)

Standards have been empirically developed to describe various morphological characters of eurypterids. The standards pertain to the following characters: 1) shape of the prosoma; 2) shape of the metastoma; 3) shape of the eyes; 4) position of the eyes; 5) types of prosomal appendages; 6) types of swimming leg paddles; 7) structure of the doublure; 8) differentiation of the opisthosoma; 9) structure of the genital appendages; 10) shape of the telson; and 11) types of ornamentation.

For the first time, a uniform, standardized taxonomy is proposed for classification and identification of most genera. The taxonomy is based on the observation that most higher taxonomic levels for arthropods are based on the structure and arrangement of the appendages. Details of the taxonomy rely on the morphological standards proposed here.

The order Eurypterida Burmeister, 1843, is here defined by the presence of only six pairs of prosomal appendages, the first pair being the chelicera, the next five pairs being the gnathobasic, uniramus legs. Suborders are characterized by the gross morphology of the chelicera. Superfamilies and families are characterized by the use of a single character complex, specifically the structure and arrangement of the second through sixth pairs of prosomal appendages. Genera are recognized by more specific standards.

A new classification of the order Eurypterida is proposed. Three new superfamilies, Kokomopteroidea, Megalograptoidea, and Brachyopterelloidea, and five new families, Brachyopterellidae, Adelophthalmidae, Lanarkopteridae, Erieopteridae, and Hardieopteridae, are proposed.

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