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Episode 1055

Megarachne
Wed, 2020-Mar-25 01:14 UTC
Length - 2:30

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Welcome to featured Wiki of the Day where we read the summary of the featured Wikipedia article every day.

The featured article for Wednesday, 25 March 2020 is Megarachne.

Megarachne is a genus of eurypterid, an extinct group of aquatic arthropods. Fossils of Megarachne have been discovered in deposits of Late Carboniferous age, from the Gzhelian stage, in San Luis, Argentina. The fossils of the single and type species M. servinei have been recovered from deposits that had once been a freshwater environment. The generic name, composed of the Ancient Greek μέγας (megas) meaning "great" and Ancient Greek ἀράχνη (arachne) meaning "spider", translates to "great spider", because the fossil was misidentified as a large prehistoric spider.

With a body length of 54 cm (1.77 ft), Megarachne was a medium-sized eurypterid. If the original identification as a spider had been correct, Megarachne would have been the largest known spider to have ever lived. Eurypterids such as Megarachne are often called "sea scorpions", but the strata in which Megarachne has been found indicates that it dwelled in freshwater and not in marine environments.

Megarachne was similar to other eurypterids within the Mycteropoidea, a rare group known primarily from South Africa and Scotland. The mycteropoids had evolved a specialized method of feeding referred to as sweep-feeding. This involved raking through the substrate of riverbeds in order to capture and eat smaller invertebrates. Despite only two specimens having been recovered, Megarachne represents the most complete eurypterid discovered in Carboniferous deposits in South America so far. Due to their fragmentary fossil record and similarities between the genera, some researchers have hypothesized that Megarachne and two other members of its family, Mycterops and Woodwardopterus, represent different developmental stages of a single genus.

This recording reflects the Wikipedia text as of 01:14 UTC on Wednesday, 25 March 2020.

For the full current version of the article, see Megarachne on Wikipedia.

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