The life habits of the Ordovician illaenine trilobite Bumastoides



The Ordovician illaenine Bumastoides exhibits a distinctive effaced and strongly convex morphology. Orientation of the visual field, the extreme convexity of the cephalon and the nature of the thoracic articulation support an interpretation of Bumastoides as an infaunal trilobite that was poorly suited to epifaunal crawling. The genus may have been sedentary; spending most of its post-larval life cycle within a burrow. Suspension feeding would be a viable existence for a sedentary trilobite such as Bumastoides. Maintenance of a burrow is essential for respiration and would require a firm, cohesive substrate. The infaunal niche had become occupied by trilobites by at least the Late Cambrian and continued to be exploited through the Ordovician, Silurian and. possibly, into the Devonian. Convergence has led to the appearance of the effaced, strongly convex morphotype in a number of unrelated families, including the Illaenidae, Asaphidac, Aulacopleuridae, Plethopeltidae and Scutelluidae. A high numerical abundance of illaenid trilobites, such as Illaenus and Bumastoides, is characteristic of the illaenid–chcirurid association, which persisted from the early Ordovician until at least the Late Silurian. This association has been recorded from shelf-edge and on-shelf carbonate buildups and shallow subtidal level bottom environments. It appears to be confined to firm substrates.