The Scaglia Rossa of central and northern Italy yields a late Cretaceous bathyal echinoid fauna. Comparison with Jurassic and Cenozoic bathyal faunas highlights that (i) there have been at least three phases of colonization of bathyal settings from the continental shelves, with successive faunas replacing the earlier; and (ii) bathyal echinoid faunas encompass an increasing range of feeding strategies and greater diversity of taxa through time, paralleling increasing nutrification of the oceans. A new Santonian deep-sea spatangoid, Bathyovulaster disjunctus gen. et sp. nov., is described from sediments deposited at > 1500 m water depth at Gubbio, Umbria–Marche region, Italy.

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