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Boletín de la Sociedad Geológica Mexicana

versión impresa ISSN 1405-3322

Bol. Soc. Geol. Mex vol.60 no.1 Ciudad de México ene. 2008




Occurrence of Meyeria magna M'Coy, 1849 in Colombia: a widely distributed species during Aptian times


Presencia de Meyeria magna M'Coy, 1849 en Colombia: una especie de amplia distribución durante el Aptiano.


Francisco J. Vega1,*, Rodney M. Feldmann2, Fernando Etayo–Serna3, Hermann D. Bermúdez–Aguirre4 and Jorge Gómez3


1 Instituto de Geología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México. Ciudad Universitaria. México, D.F., México. *Email:

2 Department of Geology, Kent State University, Kent, Ohio, 44242, USA.

3 INGEOMINAS–Museo Geológico José Royo y Gómez, Dg 5334–53, Bogota DC, Colombia.

4 Geostratos Lta. Cra. 40, no. 22C–60, Bloque B3, Apto. 1201, Bogotá DC, Colombia.


Manuscript received: September 21, 2007.
Corrected manuscript recieved: October 18, 2007.
Manuscript accepted: November 20, 2007



Occurrence of the mecochirid decapod Meyeria magna M'Coy 1849 is documented based on numerous articulated specimens collected from upper Aptian strata of Colombia. This report represents the first record in America for the species, previously reported from Aptian deposits of Europe. The numerous specimens of a relatively uniform size found in a single stratigraphic level suggests a mass mortality event, favorable conditions for the development of the community, or both. The stratigraphic range for the genus Meyeria is confirmed to be Lower to Upper Cretaceous.

Key words: Crustacea, Mecochiridae, Meyeria, Aptian, Colombia.



La presencia del decápodo mecoquirido Meyeria magna M'Coy 1849, es documentada con base en numerosos ejemplares articulados, recolectados en estratos del Aptiano superior de Colombia. Este reporte representa el primer registro de esta especie para América, ya que sólo se había reportado de depósitos del Aptiano de Europa. Los numerosos ejemplares, de talla relativamente uniforme, encontrados en un solo nivel estratigráfico, sugieren un evento de mortandad masiva, condiciones favorables para el desarrollo de la comunidad, o ambos escenarios. Se confirma que el rango estratigráfico del género Meyeria corresponde del Cretácico Inferior al Cretácico Superior.

Palabras clave: Crustácea, Mecochiridae, Meyeria, Aptiano, Colombia.


1. Introduction

Twenty–one crustacean specimens of the species Meyeria magna M'Coy 1849, were collected in outcrops near La Quebrada El Cobre, Municipio de Payandé, Departamento de Tolima, about 120 km southwest of Bogotá, Colombia (Figure 1). The lithologic unit from which the crustaceans were collected is found at Valle Superior del Magdalena Basin, it has not been formally named (Figure 2). The specimens were found approximately 1 m above a layer that contains the cephalopod species Heminautilus etheringtoni Durham, 1946, Kutatissites cf. boteroi Etayo–Serna, 1979 and Cheloniceras sp. (Figure 3) that indicate a late Aptian age (Etayo–Serna, 1979; 1983), and were collected from a single fossiliferous horizon 0.25 m thick (Figure 4). The specimens are preserved with most appendages articulated, and there is no clear evidence for a separation between the cephalothorax and the abdomen. This mode of preservation suggests that the specimens were corpses. Their numerous occurrences in concretions from a single horizon may indicate a massive mortality event. Based upon comparison of the morphological details, the Colombian specimens are identified asMeyeria magna M'Coy 1849, described from the lower Aptian of England.

Hoploparia colombiana Beurlen, 1938, was described from the Neocomian of Colombia, based on a single, incomplete cephalothorax, but its position suggests that the locality is part of the lower Albian Tablazo Formation (Ulloa and Rodriguez, 1978). That species was attributed to Mecochirus by Forster and von Hillebrandt (1984). The state of preservation of the partial specimen makes it difficult to confirm its systematic affinity.

The studied specimens are deposited in the collection of INGEOMINAS, Museo Geológico José Royo y Gómez, Dg. 53, N. 34–53, Bogotá DC, Colombia, acronym JGT–100.


2. Systematic Paleontology

Order Decapoda Latreille, 1802

Suborder Pleocyemata Burkenroad, 1963

Infraorder Astacidea Latreille, 1802

Family Mecochiridae Van Straelen, 1924 [imprint 1925]

Mecochirus Germar, 1827

Huhatanka Feldmann and West, 1978

Meyeria M'Coy, 1849

IPraeatya Woodward, 1868

Pseudoglyphea Oppel, 1861 (=Triassiglyphea Van Straelen, 1936)

Genus Meyeria M'Coy 1849

Type species. Meyeria ornata Phillips, 1829.

Included species. Meyeria crofti Ball, 1960; M. magna M'Coy 1849; M. mexicana Rathbun, 1935; M. ornata Phillips, 1829; M. pueblaensis Feldmann, Vega, García–Barrera, Rico–Montiel, and Martinez–Lopez, 1995; M. rapax Harbort, 1905; M. schwarzi Kitchin, 1908.

Meyeria magna M'Coy 1849

Figures 5–(6)7

Synonymies. Meyeria bolivari Van Straelen, 1927 (fide Forster, 1971); Bataller, 1950; M. pearcei Spence–Bate /<<Lee, 1881 (fide Woods, 1928); M. vectensis Bell, 1863 (fide Woods, 1928); Oncopareia granulosa Vilanova, 1863; Mallada, 1892; Hoplopariagranulosa Via, \95\;Meyeria magna M'Coy 1849; Via, 1975.

Nomina nuda. Meyeria? harveyi Woodward, 1900 (fide Forster, 1971).

Description. Mecochirid of large size; cephalothorax proportionally large, subcylindrical, about two–thirds the length and twice the height of abdomen, with a median dorsal groove extending from posterior margin to level of cervical groove, delimited laterally by two sharp ridges with granules on the crest; antennal region one–third the cepha–lothorax length, with three longitudinal ridges, middle and lower ridges are stronger and bear sharp, forward–directed spines, spaces between ridges are smooth; cervical groove deep, two–thirds the height of cephalothorax, inclined toward lower anterior margin; branchiocardiac groove shallow, slightly inclined from the upper part of posterior margin to mid–height of carapace; postcervical groove very shallow and parallel to branchiocardiac groove; hepatic groove shallow and curved upward at distal end, surrounds subcircular hepatic lobe; another subovate lobe lies above hepatic lobe; aridge at the level of medianridge of anterior region extends from cervical groove backwards to reach branchocardiac groove; anterior cardiac region with a few small tubercles; branchial area covered by evenly–spaced small tubercles of uniform size, becoming more numerous toward ventral margin and hepatic lobe; a marginal rim and shallow groove mark posterior part of cephalothorax; small rim marks ventral margin.

Abdomen plus telson one third longer than cephalothorax; abdominal segments with six longitudinal rows of tubercles, three on each side, row of tubercles at contact with pleura the strongest; first abdominal somite short, segment triangular in lateral view; second abdominal segment twice the length of first segment, pleura subrect–angular, anterior and lower margins rounded, posterior margin straight, longitudinal ridge on middle portion and a strong boss near lower margin; second to fifth abdominal segments of similar shape and size, with triangular terga and middle longitudinal ridge, as well as prominent boss in lower portion of terga; sixth abdominal segment triangular in longitudinal view, pleura triangular, strong ridge at contact with tergum; telson longitudinally rectangular, with a median groove, basis subovate, smooth; endopodite and exopodite triangular, proximal two–thirds covered by fine granules, rounded lower margin, both with median keel, diaeresis present.

First pereiopod long, two–thirds the total length of carapace; ischium subtriangular; meras rectangular, four times longer than ischium, lower margin with keel and three sharp spines on distal portion; carpus subtrapezoidal, one–fourth merus length, with long, sharp spine on lower anterior margin; propodus subrectangular, half the length of merus, narrow at junction with dactylus; dactylus pointed, one–third the length of merus, half the height of propodus. Second pereiopod subchelate, merus rectangular, elongate, lower margin with keel; carpus subquadrate, slightly wider at junction with propodus; propodus subquadrate, flat; dactylus unciform, articulated to upper part of propodus. Third pereiopod, two–thirds the length and half the height of first pereiopod; merus rectangular elongate; carpus subtrapezoidal; propodus rectangular, twice the length of carpus; dactylus unciform, two–thirds the propodus length and two–thirds its height. Fourth and fifth pereiopods slender, about one–third the length of first pereiopod. Ischium of fourth pereiopod subtriangular; merus rectangular, elongate, five times the length of ischium; carpus subtrapezoidal, one–third the merus length; propodus rectangular, four times carpus length; dactylus unciform, two–thirds the length of propodus.

Material. Twenty–one specimens, hypotypes JGT–100/01 to JGT–100/21, upper Aptian, La Quebrada El Cobre, Municipio de Payandé, Departamento del Tolima, about 120 km southwest of Bogotá.

Measurements. Measurements of specimens are given in Table 1.

Discussion. The synonymy of Mecochirus Germar, 1827, má Meyeria M' Coy 1849 was suggested by Forster (1971), but important differences between these two mecochirid genera have been noted (Herrick and Schram, 1978; Feldmann et al., 1995). According to Aguirre–Urreta (1989), Meyeria rapax Harbort, 1905, from the Valanginian–Hauterivian (Lower Cretaceous) of Argentina differs from M. magna in having a weaker ornamentation of the carapace, different shape of abdominal terga, and stronger inferior and postcervical grooves. The type species, Meyeria ornata (Phillips, 1829) from the Lower Cretaceous (Neocomian) of England, Switzerland, and Germany (Glaessner, 1929), has strong, beaded transverse ridges on the abdominal terga. Another species oí Meyeria from the southern hemisphere (Feldmann and Schweitzer, 2006) isM. schwarzi Kitchin, 1908, from the Neocomian of South Africa. It resembles M. rapax, but it is smaller and has a more compressed cephalothorax. A review of the holotype of M. mexicana Rathbun, 1935, from the upper Aptian of Chihuahua, Mexico, revealed important morphological similarities to M. magna, and was considered to be in synonymy with the European species (Simpson and Middleton, 1985); however, there are sufficient differences between the two species to maintain them as distinct. The cephalic ridges on Meyeria magna are granular, but those onM. mexicana are smooth. The branchial region of M. magna is granular on the dorsal surface, whereas it is smooth on M. mexicana. Finally, the branchiocardiac groove on M. magna crosses the branchial region in a convex–up arc, whereas that of M. mexicana is nearly straight. Feldmann et al. (1995) descri–bedMeyeriapueblaensis Feldmann, Vega, García–Barrera, Rico–Montiel, and Martinez–Lopez, 1995, from the Aptian San Juan Raya Formation, Puebla, Mexico. That species is much smaller than M. magna, has a less ornamented cephalothorax, lacks a beaded ridge along the postcervical groove, and has weaker ornamentation of the abdomen. The abdominal terga are different in shape fromM. magna, and the species exhibits sexual dimorphism, according to a recent review of this species (Feldmann et al., 2007). The long first pereiopods of M. pueblaensis are proportionally much thinner than the ones observed in the specimens of M. magna from Colombia. Meyeria bolivari van Straelen, 1927, from the Aptian of Spain, was considered by Forster (1971) to be similar to M. magna, a position supported by Via (1975; 1988; Solé and Via, 1988), who suggested that M. bolivari was a junior synonym of M. magna. Description ofM. crofti Ball, 1960, from the Campanian of Antarctica, was based on a single, incomplete cephalothorax fragment. "Meyeria" sp. from the Valanginian of Japan (Koseki et al., 1991) was not published formally (Karasawae/a/., 2006), and is represented by a very small specimen. Its systematic position as Meyeria is doubtful (H. Kato, pers. comm). A list of species oí Meyeria, as well as their stratigraphic and geographic distribution is presented in Table 2.

Recently, Astrop (2007) conducted a morphometric and phylogenetic examination of the Mecochiridae employing 12 species, 10 of which were assigned to genera within the family,Mecochirus, Meyeria, andPseudoglyphea. Glyphea rostrata was also included in the study and Eryma was designated as the outgroup for phylogenetic analysis. From the standpoint of the present study, it was concluded that Meyeria and. Mecochirus grouped together but thatMeyeria was paraphyletic. The study must be considered preliminary because not all the taxa within the Mecochiridae, as currently defined, were included in the study. However, there are implications for the present study because the type species of Meyeria, M. ornata (Phillips, 1829) did not nest with the other three species included, M. rapax, M. magna, and M. pueblaensis. If this conclusion is borne out by additional work, it would suggest that the latter three species should be assigned to a new genus. However, until this conclusion is further tested, we will continue to consider these species as members of the genus Meyeria.


3. Paleobiogeography

The genus Meyeria had a wide distribution during Early Cretaceous times. Its occurrence in the southern hemisphere includes species from the Valanginian and Aptian. Distribution of Meyeria magna during Aptian times include Europe, Mexico, and Colombia. A similar distribution pattern is found for the primitive brachyuran Cenomanocarcinusvanstraeleni Stenzel, 1945 during late Cenomanian and early Turanian times, with occurrences in Germany, Texas, Northeastern Mexico and Colombia (Vega et al, 2007).



The original manuscript was reviewed by G. Schweigert, Staatliches Museum fur Naturkunde Stuttgart, Germany, and A. Garassino, Natural History Museum in Milan, Italy, who suggested important ideas to improve the manuscript. Our sincere gratitude to S. Butts, Collections Manager, Peabody Museum, for her support providing images of specimens for comparison. Pedro Artal (Museo Geológico del Seminario de Barcelona) kindly provided bibliographic references and images of specimens from Spain.


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