Skip to main content
    • Aa
    • Aa

Brittle stars from the British Oxford Clay: unexpected ophiuroid diversity on Jurassic sublittoral mud bottoms

  • Timothy A.M. Ewin (a1) and Ben Thuy (a2)

Three new ophiuran species, Enakomusium whymanae n. sp., Aspidophiura? seren n. sp., and Ophiotitanos smithi n. sp., and an unnamed specimen assignable to the genus Dermocoma are described from the Callovian to Oxfordian Oxford Clay Formation of Great Britain. These determinations are based on new finds and a critical reassessment of historic specimens. The Oxford Clay ophiuroids represent two loose assemblages, one from the middle Callovian Peterborough Member and the other from the lower Oxfordian Weymouth Member. Both assemblages accord well with coeval midshelf mud bottom ophiuroid communities in terms of taxonomic composition and relative abundance of taxa. The British Oxford Clay ophiuroids are particularly significant as they are one of the rare instances where multiple species are represented, almost exclusively, by exceptionally preserved articulated skeletons. This provides an important window into the understanding of mid-Upper Jurassic ophiuroid paleobiology.

Linked references
Hide All

This list contains references from the content that can be linked to their source. For a full set of references and notes please see the PDF or HTML where available.

R.B. Aronson , 1991, Predation, physical disturbance, and sublethal arm damage in ophiuroids: A Jurassic-Recent comparison: Marine Ecology Progress Series, v. 74, p. 9197.

J.E. Gray , 1840, A synopsis of the genera and species of the class Hypostoma (Asterias Linnaeus): Annals and Magazine of Natural History, v. 6, p. 175184.

J.D. Hudson , and D.M. Martill , 1994, The Peterborough Member (Callovian, Middle Jurassic) of the Oxford Clay Formation at Peterborough, UK: Journal of the Geological Society, London, v. 151, p. 113124.

J.D. Hudson , M.A. Taylor , K.L. Duff , J.B. Riding , and P.R. Brown , 1994, The trophic structure of the biota of the Peterborough Member (Oxford Clay Formation, Middle Jurassic) of central England: Journal of the Geological Society, London, v. 151, p. 173194.

J.H.S. MacQuaker , 1994, A lithofacies study of the Peterborough Member, Oxford Clay Formation (Jurassic), UK: An example of sediment bypass in a mudstone succession: Journal of the Geological Society, v. 151, no. 1, p. 161172.

D.M. Martill , M.A. Taylor , K.L. Duff , J.B. Riding , P.R. Bown , and J.D. Hudson , 1994, The trophic structure of the biota of the Peterborough Member, Oxford Clay Formation (Jurassic), UK: Journal of the Geological Society, London, v. 151, p. 173194.

A. Metaxas , and B. Giffin , 2004, Dense beds of the ophiuroid Ophiacantha abyssicola on the continental slope off Nova Scotia, Canada: Deep-Sea Research I, v. 51, p. 13071317.

A.B. Smith , and A. Crame , 2012, Echinoderm faunas from the Lower Cretaceous (Aptian-Albian) of Alexander Island, Antarctica: Palaeontology, v. 55, no. 2, p. 305324.

A.B. Smith , G.L.J. Paterson , and B. Lafay , 1995, Ophiuroid phylogeny and higher taxonomy: Morphological, molecular and palaeontological perspectives: Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, v. 114, p. 213243.

S. Stöhr , T.D. O’Hara , and B. Thuy , 2012, Global diversity of brittle stars (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea): PLoS One, v. 7, no. 3, e31940 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0031940.

B. Thuy , and C.A. Meyer , 2013, The pitfalls of extrapolating present-day depth ranges to fossil communities: New insights from brittle stars (Echinodermata: Ophiuroidea) from the Middle Jurassic of Switzerland: Swiss Journal of Palaeontology, v. 132, p. 521.

B. Thuy , and S. Stöhr , 2016, A new morphological phylogeny of the Ophiuroidea (Echinodermata) accords with molecular evidence and renders microfossils accessible for cladistics: PLoS One, v. 11, no. 5, e0156140 doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0156140.

B. Thuy , A.S. Gale , and M. Reich , 2011, A new echinoderm Lagerstätte from the Pliensbachian (Early Jurassic) of the French Ardennes: Swiss Journal of Palaeontology, v. 130, p. 173185.

B. Thuy , D. Marty , and G. Comment , 2013, A remarkable example of a Late Jurassic shallow-water ophiuroid assemblage from the Swiss Jura Mountains: Swiss Journal of Geosciences, v. 106, p. 409426.

R. Westaway , P.M. Scotney , P.L. Younger , and A.J. Boyce , 2015, Subsurface absorption of anthropogenic warming of the land surface: The case of the world’s largest brickworks (Stewartby, Bedfordshire, UK): Science of the Total Environment, v. 508, p. 585603.

P.R. Wilby , K. Duff , K. Page , and S. Martin , 2008, Preserving the unpreservable: A lost world rediscovered at Christian Malford, UK: Geology Today, v. 24, p. 9598.

Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

Journal of Paleontology
  • ISSN: 0022-3360
  • EISSN: 1937-2337
  • URL: /core/journals/journal-of-paleontology
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *


Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 4
Total number of PDF views: 17 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 183 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between 3rd April 2017 - 30th April 2017. This data will be updated every 24 hours.