Evidence of predation in Early Cretaceous unionoid bivalves from freshwater sediments in the Cameros Basin, Spain





David D. Bermúdez-Rochas [ bermudez.rochas@gmail.com ], Universidad de Cantabria, Avda. de los Castros, s/n, 39005 Santander, Spain; Graciela Delvene [ g.delvene@igme.es ], Museo Geominero, Instituto Geológico y Minero de España, c/Ríos Rosas, 23, 28003 Madrid, Spain; J. Ignacio Ruiz-Omeñaca [ jigruiz@unizar.es ] Museo del Jurásico de Asturias (MUJA), 33328 Colunga, and Departamento de Geología, Universidad de Oviedo, c/Jesús Arias de Velasco s/n, 33005 Oviedo, Spain; manuscript received on 27/12/11; manuscript accepted on 30/03/12.


Here, we present evidence of possible vertebrate predation on freshwater bivalves from the Lower Cretaceous strata of the Cameros Basin (Spain). The described collection contains the largest number of vertebrate-inflicted shell injuries in freshwater bivalve shells yet reported in the Mesozoic continental record. Several types of shell damage on fossil shells of Protopleurobema numantina (Bivalvia: Unionoida) are described and their respective modes of formation interpreted in the context of morphological attributes of the shell injuries and the inferred tooth morphology of predators that could have inflicted such injuries. Detailed study of these bite marks shows similarities with the well-documented injuries in the shells of marine molluscs, namely ammonoids, that have likewise been attributed to reptilian predators. The most parsimonious interpretation suggests crocodiles as the vertebrates interacting with the bivalves in the Cameros Basin. □Barremian–Aptian; bite marks; freshwater bivalves; predation; reptile; Unionoida.