Acta Palaeontologica Polonica

Salvinialean megaspores in the Late Cretaceous of southern Patagonia, Argentina

Patricio E. Santamarina, Viviana D. Barreda, Ari Iglesias, and Augusto N. Varela

Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 63 (3), 2018: 607-616 doi:

We report here two megaspores species related to the aquatic ferns of the Order Salviniales from the Late Cretaceous Mata Amarilla Formation (Austral Basin), southern Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. We identified the species Arcellites disciformis and Balmeisporites cf. B. holodictyus. The presence of A. disciformis, in particular, is significant not only because it represents the first record for the Southern Hemisphere, indicating a bi-hemispheric distribution for the species, but also because it increases the diversity of this genus in Patagonia. The new findings of salvinialean megaspores highlight the importance of water ferns in the Late Cretaceous aquiferous enviroments of southern South America. The common occurrences of Arcellites and Balmeisporites, whether in shallow, fresh or brackish water facies, indicates aquatic paleoenvironment of the Mata Amarilla Formation, as was inferred also from the sedimentological evidence. Their presence also indicates that the lower and middle levels of the Mata Amarilla Formation can be attributed to the megaspore Zone M3 (Albian–Cenomanian) defined for the Cretaceous of Patagonia.

Key words: Salviniales, Hydropteridales, Arcellites, megaspores, Cenomanian, South America, Argentina.

Patricio E. Santamarina [] and Viviana D. Barreda [], División Paleobotánica, Museo Argentino de Ciencias Naturales “Bernardino Rivadavia” (MACN-CONICET), Av. Angel Gallardo 470, Buenos Aires, C1405DJR, Argentina. Ari Iglesias [], Instituto de Investigaciones en Biodiversidad y Medioambiente (INIBIOMA, CONICET-UNCO), Quintral 1250, San Carlos de Bariloche, 8400, Argentina. Augusto N. Varela [], Centro de Investigaciones Geológicas (CIG, CONICETUNLP), Diagonal 113 N°275, La Plata, 1900, Argentina.

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