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Microconchid encrusters colonizing land plants: the earliest North American record from the Early Devonian of Wyoming, USA

Authors

  • JOSEPH A. CARUSO,

  • ALEXANDRU M. F. TOMESCU


Joseph A. Caruso [jac112@humboldt.edu] and Alexandru M. F. Tomescu [mihai@humboldt.edu], Department of Biological Sciences, Humboldt State University, Arcata, CA 95521, USA; manuscript received on 25/9/2011; manuscript accepted on 20/12/2011.

Abstract

Caruso, JA. & Tomescu, AM.F. 2012: Microconchid encrusters colonizing land plants: the earliest North American record from the Early Devonian of Wyoming, USA. Lethaia, Vol. 45, pp. 490–494.

Plant fossils in the Early Devonian Beartooth Butte Formation (Wyoming, USA) are colonized by microconchid encrusters which are found on several plant taxa, at two fossil localities in the formation, and whose tube coil diameters range from 230 to 1170 μm. Colonization is densest on broad Drepanophycus devonicus stems where microconchid individuals encompassing broad size ranges co-occur in close vicinity. This indicates exposure to microconchid colonization and, therefore, submergence of the plant material for relatively extended periods of time prior to burial. For in situ preserved Drepanophycus, this suggests that the plants grew partially submerged and their submerged parts were colonized by microconchids while still alive. In turn, this indicates that by the Early Devonian microconchids were colonizing freshwater environments. The Beartooth Butte Formation provides the first record of plant colonization by microconchids in North America and, along with only one other Early Devonian record from Germany, the oldest evidence for microconchids colonizing plant substrates. □Devonian, encrusters, microconchid, vascular plants, Wyoming.

Ancillary