Abstract

The remarkable brachiopod Xianshanella haikouensis, from the Early Cambrian Chengjiang Lagerstätte, was briefly reported based on only two extraordinarily preserved specimens. Details of valve interiors remain unknown due to a lack of available material. We herein reillustrate the holotype of X. haikouensis, and, on the basis of many additional specimens from the type locality, provide further information on this brachiopod taxon, including shell ornamentation, a U-shaped digestive tract, mantle canal systems, lophophores, muscle scars, and well-defined visceral areas in the valves. This exceptional brachiopod is characterized by a biconvex, rounded, knob-shaped shell lacking visible pseudointerarea in the valves, an elongate and muscular pedicle, and, especially, its possession of exceptional setal fringes. A restudy of a number of new specimens justifies assigning Xianshanella to the family Obolidae. The elongate and horny setae of X. haikouensis, coupled with the massive pedicle in many cases with its end attached to shells of other animals, indicate that this species was an epibenthic, sessile suspension feeder, attached by a pedicle.

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