Abstract

A new synziphosurine (Chelicerata:Xiphosura) is described from the Late Llandovery (Silurian) Konservat-Lagerstätte of Waukesha, Wisconsin, USA. Venustulus waukeshaensis n.gen. and sp. is characterized by a semicircular carapace with a slightly procurved posterior margin lacking genal spines and an opisthosoma composed of 10 freely articulating segments, divided into a preabdomen of seven segments with blunt pleurae and a postabdomen of three segments lacking pleurae. The tail spine is short and styliform. This is the earliest known unequivocal synziphosurine, extending their fossil record from the Wenlock to the Llandovery, and only the second species to be described with prosomal appendages; the presence of six pairs (a pair of chelicerae and five pairs of walking legs) contrasts with the seven in the synziphosurine Weinbergina opitzi, but is comparable to the number in modern horseshoe crabs. V. waukeshaensis n. gen. and sp. is not assigned to a family here pending a wider revision, but it bears most resemblance to the Weinberginidae.

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