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Commensal Worm Traces And Possible Juvenile Thalassinidean Burrows Associated With Ophiomorpha Nodosa, Pleistocene, Southern Brazil

J. Gibert, Renata Guimarães Netto, Francisco Manoel Wohnrath Tognoli, M. Grangeiro
Published 2006 · Geology

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Abstract The Pleistocene Chui Formation at Osorio (Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil) consists of coastal marine and eolian sands, the former containing abundant and well-preserved Ophiomorpha nodosa burrow systems. Detailed ichnological study has revealed interesting features associated with them. Small-sized Ophiomorpha , here assigned to a new ichnospecies, O. puerilis , are interpreted as possible burrows of juvenile thalassinidean crustaceans probably belonging to the same species as the producers of larger O. nodosa . Additionally, helicoidal burrows with thick, concentrically laminated linings are associated with the walls of O. nodosa . They are assigned to the new ichnospecies Cylindrichnus helix , and they are interpreted as dwellings of commensal annelid worms. The association of these three ichnospecies constitutes a fossil example of the role of thalassinideans as ecosystem engineers able to modify their environment and to create new space and resources usable by other organisms.
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