Les Erymida (Crustacea, Decapoda) : un groupe éteint ?

Abstract : Erymids are marine decapod crustaceans with a morphology close to that of extant lobsters. They are grouped within an unique family, Erymidae Van Straelen, 1925, based on the presence of a characteristic intercalated plate. These crustaceans were already present in the Permian, have become diversified and widespread during the Jurassic and have lasted until the Paleocene. The erymids are abundant during the Jurassic. They fossilized in deposits from various paleoenvironments: shallow water environments – like lithographic limestones from Solnhofen (Germany) –, from deep environments – like in La Voulte (France) –, and also from different platform environments – like the Terrain à Chailles (France).Since the first descriptions of erymids in the first part of the XIXth century, numerous authors have described new species and have attempted to establish the phylogenetic affinities of these extinct crustaceans. This high number of studies resulted with the apparition and propagation of confusions. So, the systematics of the erymids has become doubtful at both generic and specific levels. These taxonomic problems strongly affecting the erymids — the so called « erymidian problem » — are increased by their uncertain phylogenetic relationships among the Pleocyemata. Until the XXIst century, most of the authors classified the erymids within the infraorder Astacidea but recent phylogenetic analyses suggest an integration within Glypheidea. Moreover, a study has led to question the extinct status of the erymids. Indeed, Schram & Dixon (2004) have observed an intercalated plate in the extant Enoplometopus A. Milne Edwards, 1862. Their analysis has resulted with the clustering of this extant lobster together with the erymids within a same clade named Erymida. So, the purposes of this thesis are to rectify the taxonomic problems of the erymids, to elucidate their phylogenetic affinities and to provide observations which enable a better comprehension of their lifestyles and their evolutionary success. To reach these goals, a systematic review, supported by the examination of more than a thousand specimens, has been done. It has resulted in a homogenisation of the descriptions of the 6 genera and 75 species herein recognized and in the identification of useful characters for the phylogenetic study. The phylogenetic tree obtained clearly shows that erymids form a particular group of Astacidea and that Enoplometopus does not belong to this group. Moreover, the topology of the strict consensus tree supports a new systematic building of the group. From a unique family, the erymids are now spread into two families supported by the absence/presence of a post-orbital area: Enoploclytidae n. fam. and Erymidae. The last is also divided in subfamilies, Eryminae Van Straelen, 1925 and Tethysastacinae n. s.-fam., based on the very simple carapace groove pattern of Tethysastacus Devillez et al., 2016. This new study on the erymids was also an occasion to provide some paleobiogeographic hypotheses. But, unfortunately, they remain speculative and incomplete due to geographic and stratigraphic discontinuities of the fossil record. Observations of larval stages, of eyes, of P1 chela morphologies, of cuticular pores, and of intraspecific variability on some specimens have also enabled comparisons with extant forms. These observations led to provide hypotheses on the lifestyle of these extinct lobsters. Finally, the strong environmental tolerance was probably one of the keys of the success of the erymids during the Mesozoic but raised interrogations about the reasons of their extinction.
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Julien Devillez. Les Erymida (Crustacea, Decapoda) : un groupe éteint ?. Paléontologie. Museum national d'histoire naturelle - MNHN PARIS, 2018. Français. ⟨NNT : 2018MNHN0022⟩. ⟨tel-02160959⟩

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