Just out | Evolution of larval size in cyclostome bryozoans @ Historical Biology

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Evolution of larval size in cyclostome bryozoans


Paul D. Taylor & Helen L. Jenkins


Cyclostomes are the only order of stenolaemate bryozoans living today. The non-feeding larvae of modern cyclostomes metamorphose on settlement to produce a calcified dome-shaped protoecium. Protoecial diameter provides a proxy for larval size. The sparse data available on living cyclostomes suggests that protoecial diameter is about one-and-a-half times greater than larval width. Here we use protoecial diameter to estimate larval sizes in fossil and Recent cyclostome species. A total of 233 protoecia were measured, 143 from Recent cyclostomes and 90 from fossil cyclostomes, of which 84 came from the Jurassic. Protoecial diameter ranged from 82.5 to 690 μm, with 89% of protoecia having diameters between 100 and 300 μm. A comparison of 30 Jurassic with 51 Recent taxa of tubuliporine cyclostomes showed a significant difference in size frequency. Although the Recent taxa have a larger size range (83–465 μm) than the Jurassic taxa (125–249 μm), Recent species have a lower mode (125–150 μm) than the Jurassic species (175–200 μm). Most Jurassic cyclostomes may therefore have had larger larvae than their extant relatives. Reduction in larval size may be a component of the previously hypothesized reduction in overall body size resulting from competitive displacement by cheilostome bryozoans.

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