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ABSTRACT

The benthic foraminifer Quinqueloculina impressa Reuss, was buried in various types of sediment in order to assess its capability for producing sediment disturbances and thus, ichnofossils. Silts and silty-clays showed distinct burrows; fine sands did not. Two types of burrows were produced: fairly straight, vertical burrows from 4 cm below the water-sediment interface to within 1 cm of the sediment surface, and a horizontal and vertical maze-like burrow system in the top centimetre of the sediment. Individuals moving on the sediment surface also produced visible trails. When the sediments were dried the burrows were always destroyed; in some cases the surface trails were preserved. We propose that the vertical burrows are escape structures and that the horizontal and vertical maze-like structures are living burrows.

Ichnofossils similar to the escape structures and surface structures have been described. Presence of these ichnofossils indicates a low energy sedimentary environment and a lack of macrofaunal bioturbation. The presence of escape structures may indicate a pulsatory pattern of sedimentation.