The ichnogenus Curvolithus revisited

Journal of Paleontology

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The ichnogenus Curvolithus Fritsch, 1908, originally described from the Ordovician of the Prague Basin, typically comprises ribbonlike or tonguelike, flattened, endostratal traces with three rounded lobes on the upper surface. However, considerable confusion persists regarding the ichnotaxonomic status and diagnostic features of its ichnospecies. The type specimens of this ichnotaxon, overlooked in most subsequent reports, are redescribed herein. Curvolithus multiplex Fritsch, 1908, the type species, is retained for specimens with a trilobate upper surface and a quadralobate lower surface, in contrast to the criteria adopted by subsequent authors. The other ichnospecies originally proposed from the type locality, C. gregarius Fritsch, 1908, actually consists of a series of grouped parallel scratch marks forming ridges and should be removed from Curvolithus. Subsequently, four ichnospecies were defined: C.? davidis Webby 1970; C. annulatus Badve and Ghare 1978; C. aequus Walter et al. 1989; and C. manitouensis Maples and Suttner 1990. Curvolithus? davidis shows the typical trilobation of Curvolithus apparently in its lower surface, but the morphology of the upper surface is uncertain. Accordingly, it does not warrant ichnospecific assessment, and is regarded as a nomen dubium. The nature of the annulations on the trilobate upper surface of C. annulatus is unclear, and this ichnospecies is also best considered as a nomen dubium. Curvolithus aequus has a bilobate lower surface and probably represents washed out specimens of Didymaulichnus. Finally, C. manitouensis comprises specimens with a smooth, trilobate upper surface and a smooth, quadralobate lower surface, and is best regarded as a junior synonym of C. multiplex. Curvolithus multiplex has been used incorrectly for Curvolithus with a trilobate upper surface and a trilobate to unilobate lower surface. The new ichnospecies, Curvolithus simplex, is proposed herein for such traces. Curvolithus is interpreted as a locomotion trace (Repichnia) of endostratal carnivores, possibly gastropods, flatworms, or nemerteans. Curvolithus is a component of the Cruziana ichnofacies in shallow-marine facies, either of normal salinity or slightly brackish, in the latter case typically associated with fan deltas.

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The ichnogenus Curvolithus revisited
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Journal of Paleontology
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