Fossil Decapoda From Germany

This page contains photos of fossil Decapods collected from the Solnhofen limestones in south-central Germany.  These images were taken in August 1998 while on a field trip with the International Association of Astacology to two German Museums after the 12th International IAA Symposium.  Additional images may be added at a later date, but due to time constraints it may be a while. These images need to be captured from video tape, so it takes time.            :-)

Please Note:  There are many images on this page so it may take a ............ while ............  to .......... Load.


List of Museum Species

  Astacidea: Eryma, Enoploclytia, Palaeastacus, Erymastacus, Pseudastacus page 2
  Penaeidea: Aeger, Acanthochirana, Antrimpos, Bylgia, Drobna, Dusa page 3
  Palinura: Cycleryon, Eryon, Glyphea, Mecochirus, Palinurina,Palaeopentacheles, Phalangites, Phlyctisoma page 4
  Caridea: Blaculla, Hefriga  
  Anomura: Magila page 5
  Miscelaneous Arthropods:   page 5
  Archaeopteryx:   page 6


Solnhofen Limestone Fossil Information

Fossils have been known from the Jurassic Solnhofen Limestone (ca. 150M years old) since 1730.  More that 600 species have already been found, among them Archaeopteryx, a connecting link between reptiles and birds.  The Solnhofen Limestone is particularly famous for the detailed preservation of smaller invertebrates and for fossil tracks of marine animals (along with the animals themselves).  The fossils are exhibited in four museums, two in Solnhofen and two in Eichstätt.  The fossils presented on this page are from the two museums found in Eichstätt (Museum Bergér and Museum Willibaldsburg).  More information can be found on the Solnhofen Limestone by clicking here.  Other fossils can also be seen here.

The family Astacidae appeared in Middle Europe only in the early Cretaceous.  But other Astacidea, particularly members of the extinct family Erymidae (Eryma, Erymastacus, Enoploclytia, and Palaeastacus) are quite frequently found in Solnhofen and Eichstatt.  Pseudastacus is another representative of the Astacidea from the family Nephropidae.

Crayfish Evolution (Under Construction)

(this section taken from Hobbs, 1988, pg.70)

      At least three evolutionary lines are believed to have arisen by the end of the Mesozoic era.  These include the nephropoid, astacoid, and parastacoid (see Figure 1.).  "The nephropoids, ancestors to the modern lobsters, initiated a line that was the most conservative.  Not only have the descendants remained in the sea, basically an environment in which their ancestors came into existence, but also many of the characteristics that constitute the lobster facies, and the release of young as larvae by modern descendants, suggest a more generalized condition than that which exists in current derivatives of the early astacoid and parastacoid stocks.  The generally more morphologically divergent and venturesome astacoids and parastacoids, forebearers of modern crayfish, were destined to invade and, for the most part, to become restricted to the fresh waters of the Northern and Southern Hemispheres, respectively.  Having successfully negotiated the transition from the sea to freshwater, an environment which, in the late Jurassic, seems to have been discovered by few, if any, other decapods."


Hobbs, H. H., Jr.  1988.  Crayfish Distribution, Adaptive Radiation and Evolution.  In: Freshwater Crayfish:  Biology, Management and Exploitation.  D.M. Holdich and R.S. Lowery, eds.  Timber Press. Protland, Oregon.



Hypothesized Crayfish Relationships.
Figure 1.   Hypothesized relationships among crayfish families (after Hobbs, 1988).

  World Crayfish Distributions.
 Figure 2.  Distributions of the three crayfish families.

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Last Updated: 27 September, 2005