Betelgeusia brezinai new species (Radiasteridae, Paxillosida, Asteroidea) is described from diversely fossiliferous Upper Cretaceous methane seep deposits of South Dakota. Asteroids are rare at modern chemosynthetic settings, although a hydrothermal vent occurrence is known, and two possible fossil methane seep occurrences have been reported. The Radiasteridae is important to the interpretation of crown-group asteroid phylogeny. Two extant genera are assigned to the family: Radiaster is known from relatively few but geographically widely dispersed largely deeper-water settings, and Gephyreaster is uncommon over a range of depths in the North Pacific Ocean. Jurassic and Cretaceous radiasterids have been described from geographically widely separated localities. In morphological-based phylogenetic analyses, the Radiasteridae has been assigned to the order Paxillosida, and Gephyreaster is similarly placed in a molecular evaluation; Radiaster has not yet been treated in a molecular study. In molecular treatment, an approximately traditional Paxillosida is a sister taxon to a significant part of the traditional Valvatida. Comparative morphology of Mesozoic and extant asteroids enables a hypothesis for a stemward, Mesozoic paxillosidan.
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Vol. 92 • No. 2