New morphological features of Arthropleura sp. (Myriapoda, Diplopoda) based on new specimens from the Upper Carboniferous of Lower Silesia (Poland)

Grzegorz Pacyna, Sławomir Florjan, Robert Borzęcki


New tergite fragments of Arthropleura were found at the Nowa Ruda mine (Lower Silesia, Poland), after more than seventy years since any previous discovery. The small dimensions of the preserved structures, in terms of the genus Arthropleura, and the characteristic features of tuberculation probably indicate that the remains do not belong to the type species A. armata, but they could represent a new species. The occurrence of round protrusions in the broken-off tubercles is another feature of the new specimens, which has not been mentioned in the earlier literature. Unfortunately, the scanty remains that we have at our disposal (only two specimens were found) are not sufficient for the proposal of a new species. The number of valid Arthropleura species requires further investigation, especially regarding the features, which are diagnostic for species. The tergites described have very numerous tubercles, which may have taxonomic value in species discrimination. Because the fossils were found on a dump, their exact stratigraphic position is not known. However, they occur together with index leaflets of the seed ferns Paripteris gigantea and Linopteris sp., which enabled the age determination of Upper Namurian - Lower Westphalian for the fossils studied. This new discovery of Arthropleura contributes to a better understanding of the genus and of the Carboniferous land fauna of Poland, which is otherwise poorly known. This is also the first, detailed description of Arthropleura remains from the Polish Carboniferous.

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