Tetrataxis: a loosely attached limpet-like foraminifer from the Upper Palaeozoic



Associations of Tetrataxis preserved in situ and attached to a varicty of biogenic substrates are described from the Carboniferous of northern and central England. Environmental changes considered unsuitable for foraminiferal activity initially caused the tetrataxids to cling to their substrates of attachment in a similar way that limpets do when disturbed. Before conditions conducive to foraminiferal activity returned, the development of encapsulating fabrics (of either organic. cement or sediment origin) effected their preservation in life position. Comparisons made with Recent foraminifera. together with an appreciation of distributional data and the development of hard and soft tissue morphologies. provides strong evidence to suggest that Tetrataxis was primarily a loosely adherent, but mobile, phytal form which grazed upon benthic algae and a variety of marine invertebrates in search of food and shelter. *** Tetrataxis, Carboniferous, foraminifera, mode of life.