Swiss Journal of Palaeontology

, Volume 137, Issue 2, pp 319–325 | Cite as

A new species of Stegophiura (Ophiuroidea, Ophiopyrgidae) from the mid-Cretaceous of southern Japan

  • Yoshiaki Ishida
  • Ben ThuyEmail author
  • Toshihiko Fujita
  • Masaru Kadokawa
  • Naoki Ikegami
  • Lea D. Numberger-Thuy
Regular Research Article


Well-preserved external moulds of articulated brittle stars from the middle to late Cenomanian (early–Late Cretaceous) “Lower formation” of the Mifune Group on the island of Kumamoto, southern Japan, are described as a new species of the genus Stegophiura, S. miyazakii. Extinct (Late Cretaceous) species previously assigned to Stegophiura are now shown to represent other genera; here, we transfer S.? hagenowi and S.? nekvasilovae to the extant ophiopezid genus Ophiopeza and S.? trispinosa to the extinct ophiacanthid Sabinacantha. The present specimens are thus inferred to be the sole wholly extinct representative and the oldest record of the genus Stegophiura.


Mesozoic Cenomanian Kumamoto Classification New species Palaeoenvironment 



We express deep gratitude to the late Hans Hess (Natural History Museum, Basel, Switzerland) for providing many references and useful comments on the identification of extinct ophiuroids and, more generally, for his outstanding contributions to ophiuroid palaeontology. We also thank Kyoichi Iwanaga for donating the fossils. Comments by John Jagt and an anonymous reviewer greatly improved an earlier version of this manuscript.


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Copyright information

© Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz (SCNAT) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.TokyoJapan
  2. 2.Natural History Museum LuxembourgLuxembourg CityLuxembourg
  3. 3.National Museum of Nature and ScienceTsukubaJapan
  4. 4.KumamotoJapan
  5. 5.Mifune Dinosaur MuseumKumamotoJapan

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