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Ebbestad et al., 2023

Helcionelloid molluscs from the lower Cambrian (Series 2, Stage 4) of southern Sweden

Ebbestad, J. O. R., Cederström, P., Peel, J. S.
JournalHistorical Biology
Typearticle in journal


Three cases of repaired injuries and malformation in specimens of the helcionelloid mollusc Helcionella antiqua (Kiær, 1917) from the lower Cambrian (Cambrian Series 2, Stage 4) Gislöv Formation of southern Sweden document some of the oldest known durophagous attacks on Palaeozoic molluscs. Two of the injuries are developed as clefts, of which one had a severe effect on the continued growth of the shell. The third example is a large embayment removing large portions of the supra-apical part of the shell. A similar repaired injury is known in the slightly older mollusc Marocella mira Geyer, 1986. from Antarctica and Australia. The morphology of the injuries and the hydrodynamically quiet depositional setting suggests that the shell damage was caused by failed predatory attacks. The location of the repaired injuries suggests that the attacks may have targeted the head region of the molluscs, thus supporting an endogastrically coiled orientation of the shell in Helcionella. Only three repaired injuries in 252 Helcionella specimens were found, giving a shell repair frequency of 1.2%. All three examples occur in the larger size classes. The size-frequency distribution (N = 182) is strongly right skewed, which could suggest high input of juvenile specimens into the assemblage. The assemblage is interpreted as a time averaged and mixed death assemblage, albeit with good correspondence with the living shelly assemblage, due to a relatively thin, homogenous unit that may suggest within-habitat time averaging.

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