Supplementary material from "Exceptional preservation of reproductive organs and giant sperm in Cretaceous ostracods"

Posted on 28.08.2020 - 18:04
The bivalved crustacean ostracods have the richest fossil record of any arthropod group and display complex reproductive strategies contributing to their evolutionary success. Sexual reproduction involving giant sperm, shared by three superfamilies of living ostracod crustaceans, is among the most fascinating behaviours. However, the origin and evolution of this reproductive mechanism has remained largely unexplored because fossil preservation of such features is extremely rare. Here, we report exceptionally preserved ostracods with soft parts (appendages and reproductive organs) in a single piece of mid-Cretaceous Kachin amber (approximately 100 Mya). The ostracod assemblage is composed of 39 individuals. Thirty-one individuals belong to a new species and genus, Myanmarcypris hui gen. et sp. nov., exhibiting an ontogenetic sequence from juveniles to adults (male and female). Seven individuals are assigned to Thalassocypria sp. (Cypridoidea, Candonidae, Paracypridinae) and one to Sanyuania sp. (Cytheroidea, Loxoconchidae). Our micro-CT reconstruction provides direct evidence of the male clasper, sperm pumps (Zenker organs), hemipenes, eggs and female seminal receptacles with giant sperm. Our results reveal that the reproduction behavioural repertoire, which is associated with considerable morphological adaptations, has remained unchanged over at least 100 million years—a paramount example of evolutionary stasis. These results also double the age of the oldest unequivocal fossil animal sperm. This discovery highlights the capacity of amber to document invertebrate soft parts that are rarely recorded by other depositional environments.


Wang, He; Matzke-Karasz, Renate; Horne, David J.; Zhao, Xiangdong; Cao, Meizhen; Zhang, Haichun; et al. (2020): Supplementary material from "Exceptional preservation of reproductive organs and giant sperm in Cretaceous ostracods". The Royal Society. Collection.
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