Deciphering voids in Dasycladales, the case of Dragastanella transylvanica, a new Lower Cretaceous triploporellacean genus from Romania
Barattolo, Filippo; Bucur, Ioan; Marian, Alexandru (2021), Deciphering voids in Dasycladales, the case of Dragastanella transylvanica, a new Lower Cretaceous triploporellacean genus from Romania, Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.51c59zw84
Dragastanella transylvanica n.gen. n.sp. is described. Its calcified skeleton contains numerous voids, partly related to the moulds of soft parts of the alga, but also to lack of calcification. Interpretation of these voids, especially their attribution to original structures (e.g., primary lateral vs. reproductive organ), has important implications for the taxonomic position of the alga, even at family level. Examination of key sections that include the boundary between sterile and fertile parts of the alga excludes the occurrence of external reproductive organs. Unusual, paired pores in the outer part of the mineralized skeleton reflect an asymmetry within the whorl, excluding the presence of secondary laterals. The alga is characterized by a cylindrical to club-shaped thallus bearing only phloiophorous primary laterals arranged in whorls and flaring outwards, forming a cortex. Mineralized lenticular reproductive organs containing cysts set in the equatorial plane (Russoella-type gametophores) occur inside primary laterals (cladosporous arrangement of the reproductive organs). These characters support establishment of the new genus Dragastanella. The new species Dragastanella transylvanica resembles species previously referred to Zittelina (Zittelina hispanica and Zittelina massei) and Triploporella (Triploporella matesina and Triploporella carpatica). Except for Triploporella carpatica, whose mineralized skeleton does not permit confident attribution to either Triploporella or Dragastanella, the other species must be ascribed to Dragastanella. Therefore, the following new combinations are proposed: Dragastanella hispanica n. comb., Dragastanella massei n. comb., Dragastanella matesina n. comb. Despite widely overlapping biometrical measurements, these species can be differentiated by the size and location of their reproductive organs, the pattern of calcification around the primary laterals, and relationships among structural parameters such as the size of laterals, number of laterals per whorl and distance between whorls.
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