Skip to content

A new fireworm (Amphinomidae) from the Cretaceous of Lebanon identified from three-dimensionally preserved myoanatomy

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
Number of pages10
JournalBMC Evolutionary Biology
DateAccepted/In press - 11 Nov 2015
DatePublished (current) - 17 Nov 2015


Background: Rollinschaeta myoplena gen. et sp. nov is described from the Late Cretaceous (Cenomanian) Konservat-Lagerstätten of Hakel and Hjoula, Lebanon. The myoanatomy of the fossils is preserved in exceptional detail in three dimensions as calcium phosphate, allowing the musculature of the body wall, gut and parapodia to be reconstructed in detail. 

Results: The major muscle groups of polychaetes can be identified in Rollinschaeta, including longitudinal muscle bands, circular muscles, oblique muscles, the parapodial muscle complex and the gut musculature, with a resolution sufficient to preserve individual fibres. To allow meaningful comparison with the phosphatized fossil specimens, extant polychaetes were stained with iodine and visualised using microCT. Rollinschaeta myoplena possesses two pairs of dorsal longitudinal muscles, dorsal and ventral circular muscles and a single pair of ventral longitudinal muscles. While six longitudinal muscle bands are known from other polychaete groups, their presence in combination with circular muscles is unique to Amphinomidae, allowing these fossils to be diagnosed to family level based solely on their myoanatomy. The elongate, rectilinear body and equally sized, laterally projecting parapodia of Rollinschaeta are found only within Amphinominae, demonstrating that the Cretaceous species is derived amongst Amphinomida. 

Conclusion: The uniquely preserved myoanatomy of Rollinschaeta has allowed diagnosis of a fossil annelid to subfamily level using microCT as a comparative tool for exploring myoanatomy in fossil and extant polychaetes. Our results demonstrate that fossilized muscles can provide systematically informative anatomical detail and that they should be studied when preserved.

    Research areas

  • Amphinomidae, Annelida, Cretaceous, Musculature, Polychaetes, Rollinschaeta

Download statistics

No data available



  • 12862_2015_Article_541

    Rights statement: This is the final published version of the article (version of record). It first appeared online via BioMed Central at http:/ Please refer to any applicable terms of use of the publisher.

    Final published version, 2 MB, PDF document

    Licence: CC BY


View research connections

Related faculties, schools or groups