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Comparative drilling predation on time-averaged phosphatized and nonphosphatized assemblages of the minute clypeasteroid echinoid Echinocyamus stellatus from Miocene offshore sediments (Globigerina Limestone Formation, Malta)

  • Tobias B. Grun (a1), Andreas Kroh (a2) and James H. Nebelsick (a1)

Fossilized tests of 1,053 Echinocyamus stellatus (Capeder, 1906) from the Miocene Globigerina Limestone Formation exposed on the northern coast of Gozo (Maltese Islands) were analyzed for predation traces. Specimens mixed by time-averaging processes can be clearly separated into two distinct samples according to their preservation as phosphatized or nonphosphatized individuals. Overall, 11.1% of the tests reveal holes that are referred to the ichnospecies Oichnus simplex (Bromley, 1981). Because of the hole morphology and diameter, the holes are interpreted as predatory drill holes, most likely produced by cassid gastropods. Redeposited phosphatized echinoids derived from an earlier period of reduced sedimentation rates show drilling frequencies of 20.5%. Younger, autochthonous, nonphosphatized echinoids show drilling frequencies of 8.1%. In both samples, predators predominantly targeted the aboral side of the echinoid test, particularly on the petalodium.

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Journal of Paleontology
  • ISSN: 0022-3360
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