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Title: A 425-Million-Year-Old Silurian Pentastomid Parasitic on Ostracods
Authors: Siveter, David J.
Briggs, Derek E.G.
Siveter, Derek J.
Sutton, Mark D.
First Published: 21-May-2015
Publisher: Elsevier (Cell Press)
Citation: Current Biology, 2015, 25(12), pp. 1632-1637
Abstract: Pentastomids (tongue worms) are worm-like arthropods known today from ~ 140 species. All but four are parasitic on vertebrates. Their life cycle typically involves larval development in an intermediate host followed by maturation in the respiratory tract of a definitive terrestrial host. Fossil pentastomids are exceedingly rare and are known only from isolated juveniles. The identity of the possible hosts of fossil pentastomids and the origin of their lifestyle have generated much debate. A new, exceptionally preserved species, described based on adults from 425-million-year-old marine rocks, is the only known fossil pentastomid associated with a host, in this case a species of ostracod crustacean. The pentastomids are preserved near eggs within the ostracod and also, uniquely for any fossil or living pentastomid, are attached externally to the host. This discovery affirms the origin of pentastomids as ectoparasitic on marine invertebrates. The terrestrialization of pentastomids may have occurred in parallel with the vertebrate invasion of land.
DOI Link: 10.1016/j.cub.2015.04.035
ISSN: 0960-9822
eISSN: 1879-0445
Version: Publisher Version
Status: Peer-reviewed
Type: Journal Article
Rights: Copyright © the authors, 2015. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( ), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.
Appears in Collections:Published Articles, Dept. of Geology

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