Abstract

Eight species of brachyuran decapod crustaceans are recorded from coastal outcrops of Island Sandstone between Perpendicular Point and Punakaiki, Westland, New Zealand. The fauna consists of three raninids - Laeviranina pororariensis (Glaessner), L. keyesi n. sp., Lyreidus bennettii n. sp.; two portunids - Rhachiosoma granuliferum (Glaessner), Pororaria eocenica Glaessner; a goneplacid - Carcinoplax temikoensis n. sp. and two majids - Leptomithrax griffini n. sp., Notomithrax allani n. sp. Together, they form the most diverse brachyuran assemblage yet described from New Zealand. The decapods are preserved in unusual elliptical masses, with their long axes typically parallel to bedding, containing superbly preserved cuticle often surrounded by well-formed fecal pellets, probably of decapod origin. The accumulations are interpreted to be mechanical concentrations within depressions produced by decapods or associated spatangoid echinoids. Although seven of the species have been recorded only from the Island Sandstone, Rhachiosoma granuliferum (Glaessner) is now known to occur in the correlative deep-water facies of the Kaiata Formation in the North Westland, as well as in the Tapuni Sandstone, North Otago (middle Eocene), and from coeval rocks at Snowdrift Quarry, southeast Otago. The raninids suggest comparison with congeneric forms from Snowdrift Quarry and the Tapuni Sandstone, as well as with the La Meseta Formation, Seymour Island, antarctica. Based upon associated foraminiferans, a Kaiatan-Runangan (late Eocene) age is assigned to this fauna. The occurrences of Carcinoplax, Leptomithrax, and Notomithrax represent paleobiogeographic and stratigraphic records for the genera.

You do not currently have access to this article.