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Revista mexicana de ciencias geológicas

versión On-line ISSN 2007-2902versión impresa ISSN 1026-8774

Rev. mex. cienc. geol vol.23 no.3 Ciudad de México ene. 2006


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A new member of the Family Prosopidae (Crustacea: Decapoda: Brachyura) from the Lower Cretaceous of Japan


Hiroaki Karasawa1, Hisayoshi Kato2, and Kazunobu Terabe3


1 Mizunami Fossil Museum, Yamanouchi, Akeyo, Mizunami, Gifu 509–6132, Japan.

2 Natural History Museum and Institute, Chiba, Aoba, Chiba 260–8682, Japan.

3 Department of Geology, Faculty of Science, Niigata University, Niigata 950–2181, Japan.


Manuscript received: September 4, 2005
Corrected manuscript received: January 5, 2006
Manuscript accepted: January 15, 2006



A new genus and species (Decapoda: Brachyura: Prosopidae) is described from the lower Cretaceous Sebayashi Formation ofGunma Prefecture, Japan. It represents the second and oldest record of the Family Prosopidae from the North Pacific realm. A checklist of all known species of the Mesozoic Decapoda from Japan is included.

Key words: Crustacea, Decapoda, Brachyura, Prosopidae, Cretaceous, Japan.



Un nuevo género y nueva especie (Decapoda: Brachyura: Prosopidae) es descrito del Cretácico Inferior de la Formación Sebayashi, Perfectura de Gunma, Japón. Representa el segundo y más antiguo registro de la Familia Prosopidae en el dominio del Pacífico Norte. Se incluye una lista de las especies conocidas de Decapoda mesozoicos de Japón.

Palabras clave: Crustacea, Decapoda, Brachyura, Prosopidae, Cretácico, Japón.



The Prosopidae von Meyer, 1860, an extinct family within the Superfamily Homolodromioidea Alcock, 1899, comprises three subfamilies, Prosopinae von Meyer, 1860, Pithonotinae Glaessner, 1933, and Glaessneropsinae Patrulius, 1960. Besides the Danian occurrence of Plagiophthalmus Bell, 1863 (Segerberg, 1900), all genera are known from the Jurassic to Cretaceous (Müller et al, 2000). Previously known members of the Prosopidae are mainly recorded from the Tethys realm (Müller et al, 2000). The purpose of the present paper is to describe a new genus and new species of a prosopid from the Lower Cretaceous of Japan. In addition, a checklist of all known species of the Mesozoic Decapoda from Japan is presented (see Table 1).

The specimens were collected from the sandstone portion of alternating sandstone and mudstone within the "Upper Member" of the Sebayashi Formation (Matsukawa, 1983) exposed at Sebayashi, Kanna–cho (Lat 36°4'1"N, Long 138°50'20"E), Gunma Prefecture. Matsukawa (1983) indicated, based upon mollusks, that the geologic age of the Sebayashi Formation is upper Barremian–Aptian. The Decapoda–bearing sandstone yields an ammonite fauna containing Barremites sp. and Pseudohaploceras sp., which is similar to the Barremian fauna reported by Matsukawa (1983).

The specimens are housed in the Gunma Museum of Natural History (GMNH), Tomioka, Gunma 370–2345, Japan, and the Mizunami Fossil Museum (MFM).



Family Prosopidae von Meyer, 1860
Subfamily Prosopinae von Meyer, 1860
Genus Nipponopon new genus

Diagnosis. As for the species.

Etymology. A contraction of Nippon and Prosopon.

Geologic range. Early Cretaceous (Barremian).

Discussion. The present new genus may be most similar to Rathbunopon Stenzel, 1945, among the known prosopine genera, but differs in that the carapace is slightly wider than long and triangular in outline, the protogastric region bears three pointed tubercles, the cervical groove is complete and deep, and the urogastric region is weakly bilobed and is not ornamented with two transverse ridges. Members of the Pithonotinae have usually smooth dorsal carapace and complete lateral margins; therefore, Nipponopon is readily distinguished from them. Nipponopon also differs from Glaessneropsis Patrulius, 1960, a sole included genus of the Glaessneropsinae by lacking a wide, crown–shaped rostrum and strong orbital spines, both of which are diagnostic characters of the Glaessneropsinae.

The Prosopidae has been well known from the Jurassic and Cretaceous of the Tethys realm (Müller et al, 2000). Prosopids occurring outside the Tethys realm have been Ekalakia lamberti Bishop, 1976, Plagiophthalmus bjorki Bishop and Williams, 2000, and Rugafarius fredrichi Bishop, 1985, from the Campanian of the Western Interior, USA, Oonoton woodi Glaessner, 1980, from the Albian of Australia, Pithonoton inflatum Collins andKarasawa, 1993, from the Upper Cretaceous of Hokkaido, Plagiophthalmus collinsi Feldmann, Tshudy and Thomson, 1993, from the Campanian of Antarctica, and Rathbunopon polyakron Stenzel, 1945, from the Cenomanian of the Western Interior, USA. Thus, Nipponopon is the second record of the Prosopidae from the North Pacific realm and recognition of the genus extends the geologic range for the family known from the North Pacific rim back to the early Cretaceous.

Nipponopon hasegawai new species
Figures 1a–c, 2a– c

Diagnosis. Moderated–sized prosopid. Carapace slightly wider than long, widest at posterior fifth, strongly vaulted. Rostrum short, triangular, steeply downturned, with deep median sulcus. Upper orbital margin with two weak fissures; inner orbital margin projecting beyond upper orbital margin. Lateral margin strongly divergent posteriorly with short epibranchial spine. Dorsal regions well defined. Epigastric tubercles present. Mesogastric region inflated with three tubercles. Protogastric region with three pointed tubercles. Cervical and branchiocardiac grooves deep, broad. Urogastric region divided into two by shallow median depression. Cardiac region pentagonal, strongly ridged. Mesobranchial and metabranchial regions confluent, strongly tumid.

Description. Moderated–sized prosopid. Carapace slightly wider than long, widest at posterior fifth, strongly vaulted transversely and longitudinally. Frontorbital margin about two–thirds of carapace width. Frontal margin steeply down–turned; rostrum short, triangular in outline. Orbits transversely oval, directed anterolaterally; upper margin with two weak orbital notches; inner margin projecting beyond upper margin. Lateral margin strongly divergent posteriorly, not defined as sharp edges, with reentrants at cervical and branchiocardiac grooves; epibranchial spine present, short, directed laterally; posterolateral corners smoothly rounded. Posterior margin short, gently convex.

Dorsal regions well defined. Frontal region with deep median sulcus. Epigastric tubercles well defined, directed anteriorly. Mesogastric region inflated, triangular, bearing three tubercles in an inverted triangle. Protogastric region surmounted by three pointed tubercles situated at antero–distal, proximomedial, and posterodistal areas. Cervical groove well defined, deep, broad, concave. Urogastric region divided by shallow median depression into two inflated lobes, separated from epibranchial regions by deep grooves. Cardiac region pentagonal, strongly convex. Branchiocardiac groove deep, broad, joining cervical groove near ventral margin. Mesobranchial and metabranchial regions confluent, strongly tumid, finely granulated.

Material examined. Holotype GMNH–PI–1701 and paratype MFM247019 collected by K. Terabe.

Etymology. The specific name honors Y. Hasegawa, the Director of the Gunma Museum of Natural History, who has added so much to the understanding of fossil vertebrates in Japan.

Occurrence. "Upper Member" of the Sebayashi Formation (Barremian; Lower Cretaceous); Sebayashi, Kanna–cho (Lat 36°4'1"N, Long 138°50'20"E), Gunma Prefecture, Japan.

Discussion, see genus.



We thank F.J. Vega and M.T. Orozco (Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México) for their assistance for our manuscript.



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