Tentaculitids and their evolutionary significance in the Early Devonian Dashatian section, South China

  • Fan WeiEmail author
  • Ruiwen Zong
  • Yiming Gong
Original Paper


Tentaculitoids have long been recognised as an enigmatic group of marine invertebrates that are widely distributed and highly diversified in the Silurian and Devonian strata. A tentaculitid assemblage is described herein from the Nagaoling Formation spanning the Lochkovian–Pragian boundary in Nanning, South China. Six new species are recognised: Tentaculites brevitenui n. sp., Lonchidium cylicus n. sp., Bicingulites nanningensis n. sp., Odessites aurisites n. sp., O. nahongensis n. sp. and Volynites nagaolingensis n. sp. are diagnosed. Two species Podolites sp. and Seretites sp. and one population Uniconus spp. are described in open nomenclature. All above tentaculitid genera can be detected in the Silurian strata from Sweden. The tentaculitids from South China allow transitional skeletal characters between benthic and planktonic tentaculitoids to be described, including conch size, conch wall thickness, septum number and the relationship between external and internal wall sculptures. The fossil assemblage, sedimentary rocks and taphonomic characters indicate that tentaculitids of Nagaoling Formation in South China were deposited in an outer shelf region with weak hydrodynamic condition.


Tentaculitida Lochkovian–Pragian boundary Systematic palaeontology Nagaoling Formation Evolution 



We thank the two reviewers (Eberhard Schindler and an anonymous reviewer) and editors, Peter Koenigshof and Sinje Weber, for their thoughtful and helpful suggestions that improved this article. We are also grateful to Qie Wenkun, Lu Jianfeng and Yang Zhen for their continuous help in preparing the manuscript. We would like to express our sincere thanks to Han Fei, Zeng Guangchun and Liang Jiang for their warm-hearted assistance with the field work.

Funding information

This work was supported by National Natural Science Foundation of China (Grant No. 41502016), State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy (Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, CAS) (Grant No. 143111), Yunnan Key Laboratory for Palaeobiology, Yunnan University (Grant No. 2015DG007-ZZ02) and Science & Technology Department of Yunnan Province (Grant No. 2014FD005).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.


  1. Alberti, G. K. B. (1993). Dacryoconaride und homoctenide Tentaculiten des Unter- und Mittel-Devons. Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, 158, 1–229.Google Scholar
  2. Alberti, G. K. B. (2000). PlanktonischeTentakuliten des Devons. IV. Dacryoconarida Fisher 1962 aus dem Unter-Devon. Palaeontographica Abteilung A, 256, 1–23.Google Scholar
  3. Bardashev, I. A., Weddige, K., & Ziegler, W. (2002). The phylomorphogenesis of some Early Devonian platform conodonts. Senckenbergiana lethaea, 82(2), 375–451.Google Scholar
  4. Becker, R. T., Gradstein, F. M., & Hammer, O. (2012). The Devonian period. In F. M. Gradstein, J. G. Ogg, M. D. Schmitz, & G. M. Ogg (Eds.), The geological time scale (pp. 559–602). Amsterdam: Elsevier BV.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Bouček, B. (1964). The Tentaculites of Bohemia; their morphology, taxonomy, ecology, phylogeny and biostratigraphy. Prague: Publishing House of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences 215 pp.Google Scholar
  6. Brett, C. E., & Walker, S. E. (2002). Predators and predation in Paleozoic marine environments. In M. Kowalewski & P. H. Kelley (Eds.), The fossil record of predation (Vol. 8, pp. 93–118). Washington: Paleontological Society.Google Scholar
  7. Farsan, N. M. (1981). Middle Devonian (Givetian) Tentaculites from West Afghanistan. Palaeontographica Abteilung A : Palaeozoologie-Stratigraphie, 175(1–3), 89–105.Google Scholar
  8. Farsan, N. M. (1983). Tentaculites of the lower Frasnian of Ferques, Boulonnais, northern France. Palaeontographica. Abteilung A: Palaeozoologie-Stratigraphie, 182(1–3), 26–43.Google Scholar
  9. Farsan, N. M. (1984). Die Tentakuliten aus dem Frasnium (Ober-Devon) von Ghuk (westliches Zentral-Afghanistan). Palaeontologische Zeitschrift, 58(1/2), 51–77.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Farsan, N. M. (1994). Tentaculiten: Ontogenese, Systematik, Phylogenese, Biostratonomie und Morphologie. Abhandlungen der Senckenbergischen Naturforschenden Gesellschaft, 547, 1–128.Google Scholar
  11. Farsan, N. M., & Blind, W. (1989). Studies on ontogeny and phylogeny in Tentaculitids from the Lower Frasnian; proterogenetic mode of development in an evolutionary line. Palaeontographica Abteilung A, 209(1–4), 93–110.Google Scholar
  12. Farsan, N. M., & Blind, W. (1990). Entstehungsmodus biannulater Zyklen bei Tentaculitiden durch Strukturelle Transformation wahrend der Ontogenese. Palaeontographica. Abteilung A, 210(1–3), 1–18.Google Scholar
  13. Fisher, W. (1962). Small conoidal shells of uncertain affinities. In R. C. Moore (Ed.), Treatise on invertibrate Paleontology, part W (Miscellanea) (pp. 98–143). Lawrence: Geological society of America and University Kansas.Google Scholar
  14. Frappier, A. B., Lindemann, R. H., & Frappier, B. R. (2015). Stable isotope analysis of Dacryoconarid carbonate microfossils: a new tool for Devonian oxygen and carbon isotope stratigraphy. Rapid Communications in Mass Spectrometry, 29, 764–774.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Gessa, S., & Lécuyer, C. (1998). Evolutionary dynamics of Pragian Dacryoconarida (Lower Devonian, Tentaculitoidea): evidence from palaeontological data and δ13C of marine carbonates from Czech Republic. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 138, 69–83.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Gould, S. J. (2002). The structure of evolutionary theory (p. 1433). Cambridge: Belknap-Harvard Press.Google Scholar
  17. Hajłasz, B. (1974). Tentaculites of the upper Silurian and lower Devonian of Poland. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 19(4), 455–500.Google Scholar
  18. Hou, H.-F., & Xian, S.-Y. (1975). Brachiopods from the Middle and Lower Devonian in Guangxi and Guizhou. Professional Papers of Stratigraphy and Palaeontology, 1, 1–86.Google Scholar
  19. Kim, A. I. (2008). Dacryoconaride biostratigraphy of the Devonian deposits of South Tien Shan. In A. I. Kim, F. A Salimova,.& N. A. Meshchankina (Eds.), Global alignments of Lower Devonian carbonate and clastic sequences (pp. 51–55). Contr Internat Conf, SDS/IGCP Project 499 Joint Field Meeting.Google Scholar
  20. Koren’, T. N., Kim, A. I., & Walliser, O. H. (2007). Contribution to the biostratigraphy around the Lochkovian-Pragian boundary in Central Asia (graptolites, tentaculites, conodonts). Senckenbergiana lethaea, 87, 187–219.Google Scholar
  21. Kuang, G.-D., Zhao, M.-T., & Tao, Y.-B. (1989). The standard Devonian Section of China—Liujing Section of Guangxi. Wuhan: China University of Geosciences Press 155 pp.Google Scholar
  22. Lardeux, H. (1969). Les tentaculites d’Europe occidentale et d'Afrique du nord. Cahiers de Paléontologie. Paris: Centra National de La Recherche Scientifique 237 p.Google Scholar
  23. Larsson, K. (1979). Silurian Tentaculitids from Gotland and Scania. Fossils and Strata, 11, 1–180.Google Scholar
  24. Ludvigsen, R. (1972). Late Early Devonian Dacryoconarid Tentaculites, Northern Yukon territory. Canadian Journal of Earth Science, 9, 297–318.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Lyashenko, G. P. (1959). Devonian Conoconchia of the central and eastern parts of the Russian Platform. Moscow: All-Russian Research Institute of Oil 220 pp.Google Scholar
  26. Lyashenko, G. P. (1969). New Silurian and Devonian Coniconchia from Podolia and the Odessa district (Vol. 93, pp. 78–101). Moscow: All-Russian Research Institute of Oil Geology.Google Scholar
  27. Mu, D.-C., & Ruan, Y.-P. (1983). Devonian Tentaculites in Luofu, Nandan, northern Guangxi. Memoirs of Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Academia Sinica, 18, 35–111.Google Scholar
  28. Ruan, Y.-P. (1987). Ammonites and tentaculitids. In Xi’an Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources and Nanjing Institute of Geology and Paleontology, Academia Sinica (Ed.), Late Silurian-Devonian strata and fossils from Luqu-Tewo Area of West Qinling Mountains, China (pp. 74–75). Nanjing: Nanjing University Press.Google Scholar
  29. Ruan, Y.-P., & Mu, D.-C. (1987). Tentaculitoids (p. 130). Science Press.Google Scholar
  30. Ruan, Y.-P., & Mu, D.-C. (1989). Devonian tentaculitoids from Guangxi. Memoirs of Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Academia Sinica, 26, 1–234.Google Scholar
  31. Schindler, E. (2012). Tentaculitoids—an enigmatic group of Palaeozoic fossils. In J. A. Talent (Ed.), Earth and life (pp. 479–490). Amsterdam: Springer.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Signor, P. W., & Brett, C. E. (1984). The mid-Paleozoic precursor to the Mesozoic marine revolution. Paleobiology, 10, 229–245.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Slavík, L., & Hladil, J. (2004). Lochkovian/Pragian GSSP revisited: evidence about conodont taxa and their stratigraphic distribution. Newsletters on Stratigraphy, 40(3), 137–153.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  34. Vermeij, G. J. (1987). Evolution and escalation: an ecological history of life (p. 527). Princeton: Princeton University Press.Google Scholar
  35. Wang, C.-Y., Chen, B., & Kuang, G.-D. (2016). Lower Devonian conodonts from the Nagaoling Formation of the Dashatian section near Nanning, Guangxi, South China. Acta Micropalaeontologica Sinca, 33(4), 420–435.Google Scholar
  36. Wei, F., & Gong, Y.-M. (2011). Progress and prospects of studies on Tentaculitoids. Acta Palaeontologica Sinca, 50(1), 48–63.Google Scholar
  37. Wei, F., Gong, Y.-M., & Yang, H. (2012). Biogeography, ecology and extinction of Silurian and Devonian tentaculitoids. Palaeogeography Palaeoclimatology Palaeoecology, 358-360(6), 40–50.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Wei, F., Yang, H., & Gong, Y.-M. (2013). Spatial and temporal distribution and diversity of Devonian tentaculitoids in China. Acta Palaeontologica Sinca, 52(3), 391–398.Google Scholar
  39. Wittmer, J. M., & Miller, A. I. (2011). Dissecting the global diversity trajectory of an enigmatic group: the paleogeographic history of tentaculitoids. Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 312(1–2), 54–65.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Xian, S.-Y. (1980). Systematic description. In Nandan typical stratigraphy and paleontology of Devonian, in South China (pp. 42–81). Guiyang: Guizhou People’s Press.Google Scholar
  41. Xian, S.-Y. (1988). Tentaculita. In H.-F. Hou & S.-T. Wang (Eds.), Devonian in China (pp. 244–249). Beijing: Geological Publishing House.Google Scholar
  42. Xian, S.-Y., & Wang, J.-X. (1988). Biostratigraphy and description of tentaculitids. In Chengdun Institute of Geology and Mineral Resources (Ed.), Stratigraphic paleontology and sedimentary facies of the Devonian in Longmenshan area, Sichuan Province (pp. 57–58). Beijing: Geological Publishing House [in Chinese].Google Scholar
  43. Yoder, R. L., & Ertdmann, B. D. (1975). Tentaculites attenatus Hall and T. bellus Hall: a description and interpretation of these species as dimorphs. Journal of Paleontology, 49(2), 374–386.Google Scholar
  44. Zhang, R.-J., Hu, N., Yao, H.-Z., & Feng, S.-N. (2002). Age of the Nanhao Formation of Baoting area, Hainan Island. Journal of Stratigraphy, 26(2), 101–105.Google Scholar
  45. Zhao, B. (1995). Devonian stratigraphy and fossil assemblages in the Linguan-Jintaishan klippen of Banxing, Sichuan. Journal of Stratigraphy, 19(1), 9–19.Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.MEC International Joint Laboratory for Palaeobiology and PalaeoenvironmentYunnan UniversityKunmingChina
  2. 2.Yunnan Key Laboratory for PalaeobiologyYunnan UniversityKunmingChina
  3. 3.State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and StratigraphyNanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, CASNanjingChina
  4. 4.State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental GeologyChina University of GeosciencesWuhanChina

Personalised recommendations