Small round pits and holes in fossil skeletal material are found in a wide variety of invertebrate substrates from diverse environmental settings. They are associated with parasitism, predation and commensal attachment. Four ichnogenera have been proposed for these trace fossils: Sedilichnus Müller, Oichnus Bromley, Tremichnus Brett and Fossichnus Nielsen, Nielsen and Bromley. Previous authors have established that Tremichnus is a junior synonym of Oichnus. Herein we show that Oichnus and Fossichnus are junior synonyms of Sedilichnus.
Sedilichnus, as defined herein, includes 10 ichnospecies. Sedilichnus spongiophilus, S. simplex, S. paraboloides, S. ovalis, S. coronatus, S. gradatus, S. halo, S. asperus, S. excavatus and S. solus. Consistent with previous work Sedilichnus ichnospecies are defined solely by morphological criteria and not by a priori assumptions regarding depositional environment or tracemaker. Thus, this ichnotaxon is recognized in both marine and continental settings on a wide variety of invertebrate skeletal tests. As is true with many ichnotaxa, Sedilichnus ichnospecies represent end-members in morphological spectra, however each ichnospecies is clearly differentiable from the others.
Sedilichnus spongiophilus are circular, non-penetrative pits in shells. Sedilichnus paraboloides are penetrative holes with spherical paraboloid forms and typically have larger external openings and smaller internal openings. Sedilichnus simplex are simple cylindrical borings that have both penetrative and non-penetrative forms. Sedilichnus coronatus differ from other forms by the presence of an etched or granular halo surrounding the boring. Sedilichnus gradatus have two concentric parts, an outer boring and an inner shelf of smaller diameter. Sedilichnus ovalis and S. asperus are both oval in outline differing in the presence of tapering paraboloid margins in S. ovalis and margins perpendicular to the substrate in S. asperus. Sedilichnus excavatus and S. solus are primarily non-penetrative and differ from other Sedilichnus by the presence of central, raised bosses or platforms. These two ichnospecies differ in the shapes of their external walls and the proportional thickness of the bounding groove.