In his monograph of the Cretaceous and Cenozoic brachiopods of the Caribbean, Cooper (1979) described a variety of taxa, but the youngest were from the Pliocene, leaving a gap between the fossil record and the extant taxa from the same region (Cooper, 1977). However, Cooper may have been unaware that Pleistocene brachiopods had been recorded from the region previously, but as parts of monographic studies of Pleistocene molluscs from Jamaica and Barbados by Trechmann (1930, 1937). Trechmann’s systematic assignments are now considered to be more or less incorrect, and his illustrations of taxa are somewhat indistinct and of little use for modern taxonomy. Indeed, Pleistocene brachiopods had been found in Jamaica before 1862 by Lucas Barrett (see below; Long & Donovan, 2004).
A preliminary review of the Jamaican fossil Brachiopoda, including re-identification of Trechmann’s Pleistocene taxa at the generic level and published 60 years after his original paper, was based on the limited material then available (Harper & Donovan, 1990), illustrated by Dr Eamon Doyle (Fig. 1). Although further papers have refined the systematics (Harper, 1993, 2002a; Harper & Donovan, 2002) and examined their palaeoecology (Harper et al., 1995; Donovan & Harper, 2001, 2007), Antillean Pleistocene brachiopods have remained poorly known. Now, large new collections from a number of Trechmann’s (and other) localities, made by the present authors since 1987, permit a reassessment and refinement of the systematics and relationships of the Antillean Pleistocene brachiopods, including new information concerning internal morphology and statistical comparison between and within collections.
Terminology used in the present paper follows Williams & Brunton (1997). The specimens discussed herein are deposited in The Natural History Museum, London (BMNH), the Geological Museum, University of Copenhagen (MGUH), the Florida Museum of Natural History, Gainesville (UF) and the Nationaal Natuurhistorisch Museum, Leiden (RGM). Differences in sample sizes between Jamaica and Barbados are a reflection of the more intensive field effort of the authors on the Manchioneal Formation (1987-1998) compared with the Coral Rock (1997, 2001, 2002).