Oldest record of Mathildellidae (Crustacea: Decapoda: Goneplacoidea) associated with Retroplumidae from the Upper Cretaceous of NE Mexico
A new genus and species of the Mathildellidae Prebranchioplax cretacica (Crustacea: Decapoda: Goneplacoidea) is reported from shallow marine sediments of the upper Campanian Parras Shale and Cerro del Pueblo Formation (Parras Basin), Coahuila, NE Mexico. Prebranchioplax cretacica was collected from siliceous concretions associated with more abundant specimens of the retroplumid Costacopluma mexicana Vega and Perrilliat, 1989. P. cretacica bears similarities to Eocene species of Branchioplax from Japan, USA (Alaska and Washington), England, Hungary and Tajikistan as well as with Eogeryonidae (Portunoidea) species from the Upper Cretaceous of Spain and Marocarcinidae (Styracocarcinus) from Morocco. However, clear differences in the carapace frontal shape places P. cretacica in the Mathildellidae. This record represents the oldest known Mathildellidae, and along with the Retroplumidae, appear to have originated during the Late Cretaceous in ancient seas of Mexico, with a wide distribution during Paleogene times becoming restricted today to deep waters of the Indo-Pacific region and Atlantic Ocean. Comments on preservation and morphology of Costacopluma mexicana are also included. Crab specimens preserved in siliceous concretions from one locality (Entronque) show peculiar desiccation marks, and a possible model of taphonomy.