Functional morphology and mode of life of Palaeozoic leiocope ostracodes



Leiocopes differ from all other major ostracode groups (e.g. Palaeocopa. Binodicopa, Podocopa, Myodocopa) mainly in having a simple rounded/convex shape and a strong (dorsal and/or ventral) asymmetry. These morphological features are highly conservative in leiocopes through the Palaeozoic (lower Ordovician-middle Devonian). Functional morphology and facies distribution suggest that typical ‘dome-like’ leiocopes (e.g. aparchitids) may have lived off the bottom in relatively deep water environments, contrasting with most (inferred) benthic Palaeozoic ostracodes (e.g. heavily calcified dimorphic palaeocopes). Reversely, smaller sized and both dorsally and ventrally asymmetrical leiocopes (e.g. Ordovician jaanussoniids) are considered as possible benthic dwellers with reduced mobility on or within the substratum. □Ostracodes, Leiocopa, Aparchitidae, Jaanussoniidae. Palaeozoic. Ordovician, Silurian, Devonian, asymmetry, functional morphology.