New species of late Cretaceous gastropods from Cyprus
Hydrothermal vent communities are associations of animals living in deep sea around sulphide chimneys. Their feeding strategies are based on chemosynthesis by microbial primary producers. Molecular phylogenetic divergence estimates indicate that many of the dominant vent taxa arose during the Cenozoic and Cretaceous; however, the fossil record of vent communities is exceptionally poor. One occurrence of such Cretaceous vent communities is known from an ophiolite in Cyprus. The Cyprus vent communities consist of worm tubes and numerous abyssochrysoid gastropods. All gastropods belong new species and one new genus Cyprioconcha is also described. The gastropod fauna contains the first representatives of Desbruyeresia, Hokkaidoconcha, Ascheria and Paskentana from hydrothermal vents, and also the youngest representative of the latter genus in any environment. This fauna is just one of two hydrothermal vent communities known containing other fossils than worm tubes in the Mesozoic times.