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Keywords:

  • Microconchida;
  • tentaculitids;
  • Devonian;
  • encrusters;
  • mass extinction;
  • Russia

Abstract:  Microconchid tubeworms (Tentaculita) encrusting brachiopod shells have been investigated from the upper Frasnian – lower Famennian (Upper Devonian) deposits of the Central Devonian Field, Russia. The condition of microconchids and associated encrusting taxa is reported for the first time from the early Famennian recovery interval (crepida Chron) following the Frasnian–Famennian mass extinction. Two species, one new (Palaeoconchus variabilis sp. nov.) and the second one in open nomenclature (Palaeoconchus sp.), are described. Compared to lower Famennian specimens, they seem to be preferentially grouped on the anterior parts of the brachiopod host shells, which are interpreted as the most suitable sites away from the sea-bottom and sediment. During the late Frasnian (Late rhenana Chron), microconchids, outnumbered by cornulitids and as abundant as foraminifers, were also associated with trepostome bryozoans, tabulates, rugose corals and various problematic encrusters. During the early Famennian recovery interval encompassing the crepida Chron, microconchids greatly outnumbered all associated encrusters, including the previously dominant cornulitids, while foraminifers, tabulates and rugose corals vanished. Early Famennian microconchids, represented by the single, albeit very abundant, species Palaeoconchus variabilis sp. nov., were opportunists that rapidly colonised the environment during the ongoing transgression following the regression-driven biotic crisis in the area of the Central Devonian Field. In comparison to their late Frasnian predecessors and even other Middle Devonian specimens, no size reduction (the so-called Lilliput effect) of early Famennian microconchid tubes was observed. It is probable that microconchids either rapidly attained their ‘normal’ sizes or they did not suffer any dwarfism following the Frasnian–Famennian event.