Discinid brachiopod life assemblages, fossil and extant


Authors: Mergl M

Published in: Bulletin of Geosciences, volume 85, issue 1; pages: 27 - 38; Received 14 August 2009; Accepted in revised form 18 January 2010; Online 8 March 2010

Keywords: Discinidae, Brachiopoda, life assemblages, palaeoecology, Devonian, Carboniferous, Libya, England, Discinisca, Orbiculoidea,

full text (PDF, 4.23 MB)

Export to RIS



Clusters of discinid brachiopod shells observed in Devonian and Carboniferous strata are interpreted as original life assemblages. The clusters consist of Gigadiscina lessardi (from Algeria), Oehlertella tarutensis (from Libya), Orbiculoidea bulla and O. nitida (both from England). Grape-like clusters of the Recent species Discinisca lamellosa and D. laevis are described and their spacing and size-frequency distribution are discussed. The possible function of clustering as protection against grazing pressure is suggested.


Alexander, R.R. 1994. Distribution of pedicle boring traces and the life habit of Late Palaeozoic Leiorhynchid brachiopods from dysoxic habitats. Lethaia 27, 227-234.View article

Argüelles, J., Zavala, J., Taipe, A. & Tafur, R. 2002. Community structure changes of subtidal macrobenthis of hard substrate from Palomino Isle, Callo - Perú, from 1997 to 2001. Investigaciones marinas 30, 1.

Asgaard, U. & Bromley, R.G. 1991. Colonization by micromorph brachiopods in the shallow subtidal of the eastern Mediterranean Sea, 261-264. In MacKinnon, D.I., Lee, D.E. & Campbell, J.D. (eds) Brachiopods through Time. A.A.Balkema, Rotterdam & Brookfield.

Bassett, M.G. 1986. Brachiopodes Inarticules, 85-97. In Racheboeuf, P.R. (ed.) Le Groupe de Lievin, Pridoli- Lochkovien de l’Artois (N. France). Biostratigraphie du Paleozoique 3.

Bassett, M.G., Popov, L.E., Aldridge, R.J., Gabbott, S.E. & Theron, J.N. 2009. Brachiopoda from the Soom Shale Lagerstätte (upper Ordovician, South Africa). Journal of Palaeontology 83(4), 614-623.View article

Boucot, A.J. 1975. Evolution and extinction rate controls. 427 pp. Elsevier, Balkema.

Boucot, A.J., Rowell, A.J., Racheboeuf, P., Pereira, E., Gonçalves de Melo, J.H. & Peixoto de Siqueira, L. 2001. Position of the Malvinokaffric Realm’s northern boundary (Early Devonian) based on newly discovered brachiopods from the Parecis Basin (Brazil). Journal of the Czech Geological Society 46, 109-120.

Broderip, W.J. 1833. Description of some species of Cuvier’s family Brachiopoda. Zoological Society of London, Proceedings 1, 141-144.

Bromley, R.G. & Surlyk, F. 1973. Borings produced by brachiopod pedicles, fossil and recent. Lethaia 6, 349-365.View article

Blochmann, F. 1900. Untersuchungen über den Bau der Brachiopoden. I, Die Anatomie von Crania anomala O.F.M. (1892). Die Anatomie von Discinisca lamellosa (Broderip) und Lingula anatina (Bruguiere). 124 pp. Gustav Fischer, Jena.

Blochmann, F. 1908. Zur Systematik und geographishen Verbreiterung der Brachiopoden. Zeitschrift für wissenschaftliche Zoologie 90, 596-644.

Cooper, G.A. 1956. Chazyan and related brachiopods. Smithsonian Miscellaneous Collection 127, 1-1245.

Davidson, T. 1878. A Monograph of the British Fossil Brachiopoda (Vol. 4, Part 2, No. 2: Supplement to the Jurassic and Triassic Species). Palaeontographical Society Monograph 32, 145-241.

Davidson, T. 1886-1888. A Monograph of Recent Brachiopoda, Parts I-III. Transactions of the Linnean Society of London, Series 2 - Zoology 4, 1-248.View article

Fuchs, A. 1915. Der Hunsrückschiefer und die Unterkoblenzschichten am Mitterrhein (Loreleigegend). Abhandlungen der Preussich geologichen Landesanstalt, Neue Folge 79, 1-79.

Gabbott, S.E. 1999. Orthoconic cephalopods and associated fauna from the Late Ordovician Soom Shale Lagerstätte. South Africa. Palaeontology 42, 123-148.View article

Graham, D.K 1972. A review of the brachiopod genus Orbiculoidea in the Scottish Carboniferous. Bulletin of the Geological Survey of Great Britain 38, 43-58.

Hallam, A. 1961. Brachiopod life assemblages from the marlstone rock-bed of Leicestershire. Palaeontology 4, 653-659.

Hannibal, J.T. 2003. Ancient mariners and their encrusters: identity, taphonomy and epizoa of “by-the-wind sailors” (Chondrophora) in the genus Plectodiscus. Geological Society of America Abstracts with Programs 35(5), 15.

Havlíček, V. 1972. Life habit of some Ordovician inarticulate brachiopods. Věstník Ústředního ústavu geologického 47, 229-234.

Havlíček, V. & Röhlich, P. 1987. Devonian and Carboniferous brachiopods from northern flank of Murzuk Basin (Libya). Sborník geologických věd, Paleontologie 28, 117-177.

Hiller, N. 1990. The southern African Recent brachiopod fauna. 439-445. InMacKinnon, D.I., Lee, D.E. & Campbell, J.D. (eds) Brachiopods through Time. A.A. Balkema, Rotterdam& Brookfield.

Hiller, N. 1993. A modern analogue for the Lower Ordovician Obolus conglomerate of Estonia. Geological Magazine 130(2), 365-367.View article

Holmer, L.E. & Popov, L.E. 2000. Lingulata, 30-146. In Williams, A., Brunton, C.H.C.&Carlson, S.J. (eds) Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology, part H, Brachiopoda, Revised, Volume 2. Geological Society of America, Inc. & University of Kansas Press, Boulder & Lawrence.

Johnson, M.E. 1977. Succession and replacement in the development of Silurian brachiopod populations. Lethaia 10, 83-93.View article

Kayser, E. 1892. Beitrage zur Kenntnis der Fauna der Siegenischen Grauwacke. Jahrbuch der köninglichen preussischen geologischen Landesanstalt 2(8), 95-107.

Kato, M. 1996. The unique intertidal subterranean habitat and filtering system of a limpet-like brachiopod, Discinisca sparselineata. Canadian Journal of Zoology 74(11), 1983-1988.View article

LaBarbera, M. 1985. Mechanism of spatial competition of Discinisca strigata (Inarticulata, Brachiopoda) in the intertidal of Panama. Biology Bulletin 168, 101-105.

Lockley, M.G. & Antia, D.D.J. 1980. Anomalous occurrences of the Lower Palaeozoic brachiopod Schizocrania. Palaeontology 23(3), 707-713.View article

McCoy, F. 1852. On some new Brachiopoda from the Carboniferous Limestone, Contributions to British Palaeontology. Annals Magazine of Natural History 2(10), 421-429.

Mergl, M. 2001. Lingulate brachiopods of the Silurian and Devonian of the Barrandian. Acta Musei nationalis Pragae, Series B - historia naturalis 57(1-2), 1-49.

Mergl, M. 2002. Linguliformean and craniiformean brachiopods of the Ordovician (Třenice to Dobrotivá Formations) of the Barrandian, Bohemia. Acta Musei nationalis Pragae, Series B - historia naturalis 58(1-2), 1-82.

Mergl, M. 2006. A review of Silurian discinoid brachiopods from historical British localities. Bulletin of Geosciences 81(4), 215-236.View article

Mergl, M. 2008. Lingulate brachiopods from the Acanthopyge Limestone (Eifelian) of the Barrandian, Czech, Republic. Bulletin of Geosciences 83(3), 281-298.View article

Mergl, M. & Ferrová, L. 2009. Lingulate brachiopods from the Chýnice Limestone (upper Emsian) from Čeřinka hill near Bubovice (Barrandian; Czech Republic). Bulletin of Geosciences 84(3), 525-546.View article

Mergl, M. & Massa, D. 1992. Devonian and Lower Carboniferous Brachiopods and Bivalves from Western Libya. Biostratigraphie du Paléozoique 12, 1-115.

Mergl, M. & Massa, D. 2004. Devonian Brachiopods of the Tamesna Basin (Central Sahara; Algeria and North Niger). Part 1. Acta Musei nationalis Pragae, Series B - natural history 60(3-4), 61-112.

Mergl, M. & Massa, D. 2005. A new giant discinoid brachiopod from the Lower Devonian of Algeria. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 50(2), 397-402.

Muir-Wood, H.M. 1936. Brachiopoda from the lower Lias, Green Ammonite Beds, of Dorset. Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London 92, 472-487.View article

Otto, M. 2000. Supposed soft tissue preservation in the Hunsrückschiefer (Lower Devonian, Rheinisches Schiefergebirge, the example of brachiopods. Paläontologische Zeitschrift 74, 79-89.

Pacheco, A. & Garate, A. 2005. Bioincrustantes en estructuras de cultivo de Argopecten purpuratus en bahía Samanco, Perú. Ecologia Aplicada 4(1/2), 149-152.

Paine, R.T. 1962. Filter-feeding pattern and local distribution of the brachiopod Discinisca strigata. Biological Bulletin 123(3), 597-604.View article

Phillips, J. 1836. Illustrations of the Geology of Yorkshire; or a description of the strata and organic remins: accompanied by a geological map, sections and diagrams and figures of the fossils, Part II, The Mountain Limestone District. xx + 235 pp. John Murray, London.

Reeve, L. 1862. Monograph of the genus Orbicula, pl. 1. In Reeve, L. Conchologia iconica.Vol. 13. L. Reeve & Co., London.

Richards, R.P. 1974. Mississippian discinid brachiopods attached to a soft-bodied organism. The Ohio Journal of Science 74(3), 174-181.

Richardson, J.R. 1997. Ecology of articulated brachiopods, 441-472. In Williams, A., Brunton, C.H.C. & Carlson, S.J. (eds) Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology, part H, Brachiopoda, Revised, Volume 1. Geological Society of America, Inc. & University of Kansas Press, Boulder & Lawrence.

Robison, J.H.&Lee, D.E. 2008. Brachiopod pedicle traces: recognition of three separate types of trace and redefinition of Podischnus centrifugalis Bromley & Surlyk, 1973. Fossils and Strata 54, 219-225.

Rowell, A.J. 1965. Inarticulata, H260-H269. In Moore, R.C. Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology, part H, Brachiopoda, Volume 1. Geological Society of America & University of Kansas Press, Boulder & Lawrence.

Seild, K. & Röhlich, P. 1984. Explanatory Booklet, Geological Map of Libya, 1/250,000 (NG 33-2), Sheet Sabha, 1-138. Industrial Research Centre, Tripoli.

Sowerby, G.B. 1822. Remarks on the genera Orbicula and Crania of Lamarck, with description of two species of each genus; and some Observations proving the Patella distorta of Montagu to be a species of Crania. Transactions of the Linnean Society of London 13, 465-472.View article

Sowerby, G.B. 1846. The Recent Brachiopoda, 221-406. In Thesaurus Conchyliorum, or Monographs of genera of shells, Pt. 6, 7. London.

Südkamp, W.H. 1997. Discovery of soft parts of a fossil brachiopod in the “Hünsruckschiefer” (Lower Devonian), Germany. Paläontologische Zeitschrift 7(1-2), 91-95.

Thomson, M.R.A. 1971. Inarticulate Brachiopoda from the Lower Cretaceous of south-eastern Alexander Island. British Antarctic Survey Bulletin 25, 85-94.

Valentine, J.L., Brock, G.A. & Molloy, P.D. 2003. Linguliformean brachiopod faunal turnover across the Ireviken Event (Silurian) at Boree Creek, central-western New South Wales, Australia, 301-327. In Königshof, P. & Schindler, E. (eds) Mid-Palaeozoic bio- and geodynamics: the north Gondwana-Laurasian interaction. Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg 242.

Williams, A., Luter, C. & Cusack,M. 2001. The nature of siliceous mosaics forming the first shell of the brachiopod Discinisca. Journal of Structural Biology 134, 25-34.View article

Zezina, O.N. 1961. Distribution of the deep water brachiopod Pelagodiscus atlanticus (King). Okeanology 5(2), 354-358. [in Russian]