Ethologic and ontogenic significance of the Pliocene trace fossil Sinusichnus sinuosus from the northwestern Mediterranean



The trace fossil Sinusichnus sinuosus Gibert 1996 is described and interpreted as an open burrow system, attributed to a crustacean tracemaker, that shares some features with fodinichnial networks, such as Thalassinoides and Ophiomorpha, and with graphoglyptid burrows, such as Protopaleodictyon and Cosmorhaphe. These similarities suggest that Sinusichnus could have been produced by an animal combining deposit-feeding and farming (or trapping) strategies. The Sinusichnus record has yielded juvenile and adult burrows, often in close association. On account of minor morphologic differences between the two, juvenile tracemakers could have employed an agrichnial feeding strategy, whereas adults could have employed fodinichnial feeding.