Predominantly horizontal, gently curved to slightly sinuous traces constituting uniserial rows of imbricated, subspherical sediment pads occur in Pennsylvanian tidal-flat facies of eastern Kansas. These traces exhibit a complex, actively filled internal structure. The presence of a median tunnel enveloped by overlapping pads of reworked sediment indicates that these biogenic structures should be included in the ichnogenus Nereites MacLeay in Murchison, 1839. A new ichnospecies, N. imbricata, is erected. Externally, Nereites imbricata differs from the other Nereites ichnospecies by the large, tightly packed, imbricated pads that commonly result in an annulated appearance on bedding-planes. Internally, obliquely arranged, arcuate lamiliae envelope the median tunnel and tend to follow the outline of the external semispherical pads. Additionally, the behavioral pattern reflected by N. imbricata is less specialized than that of the other Nereites ichnospecies. Eione monoliformis Tate, 1859 resembles N. imbricata in general appearance, but lack the diagnostic Nereites internal structure, and is invariably preserved as positive epireliefs. Occurrence of Nereites imbricata as both median tunnels surrounded by reworked sediment (Nereites preservation) and uniserial rows of imbricated sediment pads (Neonereites preservation) supports the notion that Neonereites Seilacher, 1960 is a preservational variant of Nereites. The ichnogenus Nereites is an eurybathic form and is a common component of Paleozoic shallow-marine facies.
Additional publication details
A new ichnospecies of Nereites from carboniferous tidal-flat facies of Eastern Kansas, USA: Implications for the Nereites-Neonereites debate