The priority of the names Stylonurus excelsior and S. lacoanus from the Late Devonian of the eastern United States has been disputed since they were first recognized as synonyms. The genus Hallipterus was later erected for the two known specimens, and they were again separated into distinct species, based on six listed differences, seemingly resolving the priority dispute. However, four of the differences are not present or can be interpreted as ontogenetically or taphonomically induced, and the remaining two are putatively interpreted as sexually dimorphic based on comparisons with Tarsopterella, a closely related taxon. The two species are therefore synonymized again and the species epithet excelsior is considered to have priority. Advocates of both names also provided different reconstructions, mainly based on other stylonurids. Hallipterus is placed in the Hardieopteridae based on putative synapomorphies with Hardieopterus and particularly Tarsopterella, the latter also clearly a hardieopterid, and the phylogenetic position of the Hardieopteridae is discussed. Although only the original two specimens of H. excelsior are known today, as a century ago, a new reconstruction is provided, supported by phylogenetic evidence, to replace the two earlier versions.
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