Euryhaline preferences of the decapod crab Mioplax socialis enabled it to survive during the Badenian/Sarmatian extinction (Miocene) in the Central Paratethys

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Abstract

Although decapod crustaceans of the Central Paratethys were diverse during the Badenian (Langhian-Early Serravallian), a dramatic drop in their diversity occurred at the boundary with the Sarmatian. A crab Mioplax socialis is one of the few decapods reported from the Lower Sarmatian (Mohrensternia Zone) of the Paratethys. Until now, this species has been known from only a handful of specimens from Austria, Croatia and Bulgaria (Central Paratethys), and its systematics and ecology remain poorly known. Here, on the basis of new specimens from the Sarmatian tuffitic clays of the Stretava Formation (Skároš, Eastern Slovakia) we confirm that this species belongs to the subfamily Chasmocarcininae. The diagnostic characters of the male sternum that allow this classification are reported for the first time. The molluscan assemblage co-occurring with M. socialis demonstrate that this species tolerated conditions with variable salinity. Its tolerance of a broad range of salinity regimes may thus explain its survival across the Badenian-Sarmatian extinction event. Preservation of near-complete and fully articulated individuals of M. socialis suggests calm conditions and short residence times on the sediment-water interface.

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