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Mergl & Šmídtová, 2022

Diminutive Epibionts on Crinoid Stems from the Lower/Middle Devonian Boundary in the Barrandian, Czech Republic

Mergl, M., Šmídtová, N.
AjakiriFolia Musei rerum naturalium Bohemiae occidentalis. Geologica et Paleobiologica
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Diminutive crinoid holdfasts and cemented tests of the foraminifers Psammosphaera and Tolypammina were observed on coarse bioclasts in weathered limestones of the Daleje-Třebotov Formation. Specimens were obtained in 1984 by washing so called “white beds” at a temporary locality in Praha- Barrandov. A few millimeter sized bioclasts with epibionts were freed from hard limestone beds of the Třebotov Limestone near the Lower/Middle Devonian boundary by long-term weathering. Many of the crinoid holdfasts attached to pluricolumnals provoked a stereomic response of the host crinoid. Also the growth orientation of the crinoid epibiont is not random and indicates some crinoid-epibiont to crinoidhost interaction. Reaction of host stereome and non-random stem orientation offer direct evidence of epibiont larval settlement and subsequent growth on the stem of a living crinoid host. The extensive growth of the host stereome ended by partial to total engulfing of the epibiont holdfast. This indicates advancing and finally successful defence of the host crinoid against the epibiont. The holdfast gives evidence that the small host crinoids offered a somewhat higher tier for even smaller epibiont crinoids. However, other observed holdfasts indicate fixation of larva and growth over loose bioclasts lying on a sea bed. Location of foraminifer test on bioclasts confims that foraminifers cemented and grew on loose echinodermal and brachiopod remains and preferred crevices and similar protected sites with concave profiles. This is clear evidence that diverse bioclasts (brachiopod shells, pelmatozoan ossicles) provided the hard substrate suitable for epibiont life on a sea bed.

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