International Geological Journal - Official Journal of the Carpathian-Balkan Geological Association

Diversity and distribution patterns of the Oligocene and Miocene decapod crustaceans (Crustacea: Malacostraca) of the Western and Central Paratethys

Pages: 471 - 494


Abstract: Decapod associations have been significant components of marine habitats throughout the Cenozoic when the major diversification of the group occurred. In this respect, the circum-Mediterranean area is of particular interest due to its complex palaeogeographic history. During the Oligo-Miocene, it was divided in two major areas, Medi­terranean and Paratethys. Decapod crustaceans from the Paratethys Sea have been reported in the literature since the 19th century, but only recent research advances allow evaluation of the diversity and distribution patterns of the group. Altogether 176 species-level taxa have been identified from the Oligocene and Miocene of the Western and Central Paratethys. Using the three-dimensional NMDS analysis, the composition of decapod crustacean faunas of the Paratethys shows significant differences through time. The Ottnangian and Karpatian decapod associations were similar to each other both taxonomically and in the mode of preservation, and they differed taxonomically from the Badenian ones. The Early Badenian assemblages also differed taxonomically from the Late Badenian ones. The time factor, including speciation, immigration from other provinces and/or (local or global) extinction, can explain temporal ­differences among assemblages within the same environment. High decapod diversity during the Badenian was ­correlated with the presence of reefal settings. The Badenian was the time with the highest decapod diversity, which can, however, be a consequence of undersampling of other time slices. Whereas the Ottnangian and Karpatian decapod assemblages are preserved virtually exclusively in the siliciclastic “Schlier”-type facies that originated in non-reefal offshore environments, carbonate sedimentation and the presence of reefal environments during the Badenian in the Central Paratethys promoted thriving of more diverse reef-associated assemblages. In general, Paratethyan decapods exhibited homogeneous distribution during the Oligo-Miocene among the basins in the Paratethys. Based on the co-occurrence of certain decapod species, migration between the Paratethys and the North Sea during the Early ­Miocene probably occurred via the Rhine Graben. At larger spatial scales, our results suggest that the circum-­Mediterranean marine decapod taxa migrated in an easterly direction during the Oligocene and/or Miocene, ­establishing present-day decapod communities in the Indo-West Pacific.

Keywords: Decapod crustaceans, Cenozoic, Paratethys, Mediterranean, palaeobiogeography

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