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Liu, Yu; Melzer, Roland R.; Haug, Joachim T.; Haug, Carolin; Briggs, Derek E. G.; Hoernig, Marie K.; He, Yu-yang; Hou, Xian-guang (2016): Three-dimensionally preserved minute larva of a great-appendage arthropod from the early Cambrian Chengjiang biota. In: Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America, Vol. 113, No. 20: pp. 5542-5546
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Abstract

A three-dimensionally preserved 2-mm-long larva of the arthropod Leanchoilia illecebrosa from the 520-million-year-old early Cambrian Chengjiang biota of China represents the first evidence, to our knowledge, of such an early developmental stage in a short-great-appendage (SGA) arthropod. The larva possesses a pair of three-fingered great appendages, a hypostome, and four pairs of well-developed biramous appendages. More posteriorly, a series of rudimentary limb Anlagen revealed by X-ray microcomputed tomography shows a gradient of decreasing differentiation toward the rear. This, and postembryonic segment addition at the putative growth zone, are features of late-stage metanauplii of eucrustaceans. L. illecebrosa and other SGA arthropods, however, are considered representative of early chelicerates or part of the stem lineage of all euarthropods. The larva of an early Cambrian SGA arthropod with a small number of anterior segments and their respective appendages suggests that posthatching segment addition occurred in the ancestor of Euarthropoda.