The fate of the homoctenids (Tentaculitoidea) during the Frasnian–Famennian mass extinction (Late Devonian)


Corresponding author: David Bond. Tel.: +44 113 3435242; fax: +44 113 3435259 e-mail:


The homoctenids (Tentaculitoidea) are small, conical-shelled marine animals that are among the most abundant and widespread of all Late Devonian fossils. They were a principal casualty of the Frasnian–Famennian (F-F, Late Devonian) mass extinction, and thus provide an insight into the extinction dynamics. Despite their abundance during the Late Devonian, they have been largely neglected by extinction studies. A number of Frasnian–Famennian boundary sections have been studied, in Poland, Germany, France, and the USA. These sections have yielded homoctenids, which allow precise recognition of the timing of the mass extinction. It is clear that the homoctenids almost disappear from the fossil record during the latest Frasnian ‘Upper Kellwasser Event’. The coincident extinction of this pelagic group, and the widespread development of intense marine anoxia within the water column, provides a causal link between anoxia and the F-F extinction. Most notable is the sudden demise of a group, which had been present in rock-forming densities, during this anoxic event. One new species, belonging to Homoctenus is described, but is not formally named here.