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Vinn et al., 2022c

First symbiotic association between hederelloids and rugose corals (latest Silurian of Saaremaa, Estonia)

Vinn, O., Wilson, M. A., Madison, A., Kazantseva, E., Toom, U.
Typearticle in journal
Estonian author


A phoronid-like hederelloid that formed a symbiotic association with the rugosan coral Entelophyllum has been found in the Pridoli Series of Estonia. The skeletons of the hederelloid and rugosan are partially intergrown. The hederelloid apertures are located at the margin of the rugosan calice. The hederelloid lophophore was likely placed between the tentacles of the coral polyp, indicating a positive or at least a neutral co-existence. In extant corals, polyps can be retracted into the calice either during the day or night. If the rugose coral was similar to modern corals in this respect, it may have helped in the co-existence with the hederelloid and allowed feeding at different times. It is possible that the hederelloid soft tissues were protected against smaller predators by the stinging cells of the rugosan tentacles. The history of symbiosis in hederelloids is similar to that of tentaculitoids, in which symbiotic relationships also appeared early in their evolution. To date, Entelophyllum is the only colonial rugosan known to have formed symbiotic associations during the Silurian.

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