A new Devonian asteroid-like ophiuroid from Spain


  • D.B. BLAKE Department of Geology, University of Illinois. 506 W Springfield, Champaign, 61820, USA.
  • S. ZAMORA nstituto Geológico y Minero de España. C/ Manuel Lasala, 44, 9ºB, 50006, Zaragoza, Spain. Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution. Washington DC, 20013-7012, USA
  • J.L. GARCÍA-ALCALDE Departamento de Geología (Área Paleontología), Universidad de Oviedo. C/ Jesús Arias de Velasco s/n, 33005. Oviedo (Asturias), Spain.


Ophiuroidea, Echinodermata, Devonian, Spain, Phylogeny


A Lochkovian (Early Devonian) ophiuroid (Echinodermata), Ophiocantabria elegans n. gen. and sp., is based on a single small, well-preserved specimen collected from a shale-rich horizon of the Furada Formation, Asturias, Spain. Sedimentologic and palaeontologic data suggest its occurrence was in a near-shore setting subjected to frequent storms. Ophiocantabria is assigned to the Encrinasteridae based on the morphology of individual skeletal elements, although overall form of the new species is similar to that of approximately coeval members of the asteroid family Xenasteridae. Such homoplasy, especially among earlier members of asterozoan class-level clades, is an important but not well understood aspect of subphylum evolution.