Abstract The rapid rise of arthropods during the Cambrian quickly established some clades, such as the euarthropod stem-group called Radiodonta, as the dominant and most diverse predators in marine ecosystems. Recent discoveries have shown that the size and dietary ecology of radiodontans is far more diverse than previously thought, but little is known about the feeding habits of juveniles. Here we document a very small (ca. 18-mm-long), near-complete specimen of the radiodontan Lyrarapax unguispinus from the early Cambrian Chengjiang Biota of China. This specimen is the smallest radiodontan individual known, representing a juvenile instar. Its adult-like morphology—especially the fully developed spinose frontal appendages and tetraradial oral cone—indicates that L. unguispinus was a well-equipped predator at an early developmental stage, similar to modern raptorial euarthropods, such as mantises, mantis shrimps, and arachnids. This evidence, coupled with the basal phylogenetic position of radiodontans, confirms that raptorial feeding habits in juvenile euarthropods appeared early in the evolutionary history of the group. Lyrarapax, Radiodonta, Arthropoda, Cambrian, predation, feeding ecology © The Author(s) 2018. Published by Oxford University Press on behalf of China Science Publishing & Media Ltd. This article is published and distributed under the term of oxford University Press, standard Journals Publication Model (https://academic.oup.com/journals/pages/about_us/legal/notices)
National Science Review – Oxford University Press
Published: Jun 1, 2018
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