Abstract

Examination of the neanic apparatuses of known populations of Nephrolepidina praemarginata, N. morgani, and N. tournoueri reveals that the equatorial chamberlets are arranged in spirals, along the direction of connection of the oblique stolons, giving the optical effect of intersecting curves. In N. praemarginata commonly 34 left- and right-oriented primary spirals occur from the first annulus to the periphery, 21 secondary spirals from the third to fifth annulus, 13 ternary spirals from the fifth to eighth annulus, following the Fibonacci sequence.

The number of the spirals increases in larger specimens and in more embracing morphotypes, and especially in trybliolepidine specimens; the secondary and ternary spirals from the investigated N. praemarginata to N. tournoueri populations tend to start from more distal annuli. An interpretative model of the spiral growth of Nephrolepidina is attempted.

The angle formed by the basal annular stolon and distal oblique stolon in equatorial chamberlets ranges from 122° in N. praemarginata to mean values close to the golden angle (137.5°) in N. tournoueri.

The increase in the Fibonacci number of spirals during the evolution of the lineage, along with the disposition of the stolons between contiguous equatorial chamberlets, provides new evidence of evolutionary selection for specimens with optimally packed chamberlets.

Natural selection favors individuals with the most regular growth, which fills the equatorial space more efficiently, thus allowing these individuals to reach the adult stage faster. We refer to this new type of selection as “golden selection.”

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