Abstract

Nektaspids are Palaeozoic non-biomineralized euarthropods that were at the peak of their diversity during the Cambrian Period. Post-Cambrian nektaspids are a low-diversity group with only a few species described so far. Here we describe Tariccoia tazagurtensis, a new species of small-bodied nektaspid from the Lower Ordovician Fezouata Shale of Morocco. The new species differs from the type (and only other known) species from the Ordovician strata of Sardinia (Italy), Tariccoia arrusensis, in possessing more pointed genal angles, a cephalon with marginal rim, a pygidium with anterior margin curved forwards, a rounded posterior margin, and longer and more curved thoracic tergites. The two specimens of T. tazagurtensis sp. nov. show remains of digestive glands that are comparable to those seen in the Cambrian nektaspid Naraoia. The rare occurrence of T. tazagurtensis sp. nov. in the Fezouata Shale and the distribution of other liwiids suggest that these liwiids were originally minor members of open-marine communities during the Cambrian Period, and migrated into colder brackish or restricted seas during the Ordovician Period.

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