Abstract

Leodia divinata new species is described from Early Pliocene deposits in Venezuela. It is only the second known species of Leodia, which was otherwise represented by a single extant and Late Pleistocene species, L. sexiesperforata. We also provide an overview of the characters that distinguish Leodia from other mellitid genera and that distinguish L. divinata from L. sexiesperforata. The evolutionary importance of L. divinata is discussed, along with its contribution to our knowledge of the phylogeny of the Mellitidae. It is now possible to partially fill a major and previously vexing gap in the stratigraphic record of the mellitids, and place in a phylogenetic context the strong preference of modern Leodia for biogenic, calcareous sand bottoms.

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