Bivalve-barnacle pseudoplanktonic colonisation of wood from the Toarcian, Lower Jurassic, Strawberry Bank Lagerstätte, Somerset UK

Crispin Little, Andy Gale, Matt Williams, Øyvind Hammer, Vincent Fernandez

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Pseudoplankton are organisms that are adapted for a mode of life attached to floating objects. In modern oceans common examples are lepadid barnacles, which attach themselves to man-made and natural objects, especially wood logs. In the fossil record, pseudoplankton examples are commonly found in black shales, such as the lower Toarcian Posidonia Shale Formation of Germany. Here there are occasional large logs of fossil wood covered in specimens of the inoceramid bivalve Pseudomytiloides dubius, with or without specimens of the pentacrinitid crinoid Seirocrinus subangularis. Some Posidonia Shale logs show evidence of for intra-species succession with younger S. subangularis specimens attached onto the stems of older ones. Another example of pseudoplankton from the Posidonia Shale is the occurrence of the numerous disarticulated specimens of the phosphatic-shelled eolepadid barnacle Toarcolepas mutans associated with a piece of fossil wood, which constitutes the oldest example of pseudoplanktonic barnacles in the fossil record. Here we report a limestone concretion from the lower Toarcian Strawberry Bank Lagerstätte (Ilminster, Somerset, UK) that preserves a piece of fossil wood with a pseudoplanktonic colony comprising at least a hundred specimens of T. mutans that attached onto a layer of P. dubius bivalves, that had already attached onto the wood. This is one of very few examples of temporal succession for pseudoplankton in the Toarcian and is also unusual in being preserved in a mixed carbonate-siliciclastic facies, rather than a black shale. The occurrence of T. mutans in the Strawberry Bank Lagerstätte concretion represents the second record of the species and also the equal oldest example of pseudoplanktonic barnacles in the fossil record.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)133-142
Number of pages10
JournalActa Palaeontologica Polonica
Issue number1
Early online date24 Jan 2023
Publication statusPublished - 1 Apr 2023


  • Bivalvia
  • Cirripedia
  • Crinoidea
  • fossil wood
  • pseudoplankton
  • Strawberry Bank Lagerstätte
  • Toarcian
  • Early Jurassic
  • UK

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