The ichnogenus Beaconichnus (Gevers 1973), an arthropod trace fossil, includes very different forms that comprise five ichnospecies, namely B. darwinum (Gevers 1971), B. gouldi (Gevers 1971), B. antarcticum (Gevers 1971), B. giganteum Gevers and Twomey 1982, and B. wrighti Gevers and Twomey 1982. The original diagnosis of Beaconichnus is rather vague and potentially may accomodate virtually every arthropod trackway described from the fossil record. In view of these problems, the validity of Beaconichnus is reassessed and each of its ichnospecies is reviewed. We conclude that B. darwinum is a junior synonym of Diplopodichnus biformis Brady 1947; B. antarcticum should be regarded as Palmichnium antarcticum; and B. wrighti is a nomen nudum. Additionally, we agree with previous proposals in considering B. gouldi as the senior synonym of B. giganteum, and including it in Diplichnites Dawson 1873. Therefore, we suggest that the ichnogenus Beaconichnus is best disregarded. Additionally, we describe specimens collected from the Late Carboniferous Tonganoxie Sandstone Member (Stranger Formation) of eastern Kansas, ascribed herein to Diplopodichnus biformis and Diplichnites gouldi, which include examples of intergradations between both ichnotaxa, and provide synonymy lists for both ichnospecies.
Additional publication details
Taxonomic reassessment of the ichnogenus Beaconichnus and additional examples from the Carboniferous of Kansas, U.S.A.