Encrustation of inarticulate brachiopods on scaphitid ammonites and inoceramid bivalves from the Upper Cretaceous U. S. Western Interior

Neil H. Landman, Joshua S. Slattery, Peter J. Harries


The inarticulate brachiopod Discinisca is a rare faunal element in the Upper Cretaceous of the U.S. Western Interior. We report two occurrences of encrustation of Discinisca on a scaphitid ammonite (scaphite) and several inoceramids from the lower Maastrichtian Baculites baculus/Endocostea typica Biozones of the Pierre Shale at two localities. Six specimens of Discinisca are present on a single specimen of Hoploscaphites crassus from eastcentral Montana. They occur along the furrow at the mature apertural margin. Because the brachiopods are restricted to the margin and do not occur on the rest of the shell, it is likely that they encrusted the ammonite during its lifetime. If so, this implies that the soft body of the scaphite did not cover the outside surface of the aperture, leaving this area vulnerable to epizoan attachment. A total of 13 specimens of Discinisca are also present on four specimens of Cataceramus? barabini from east-central Wyoming. The brachiopods occur in crevices on the outside of the shells and may have encrusted the inoceramids after their death as the shells began to break down and delaminate, resulting from the decomposition of the organic matrix holding them together. Based on the faunal assemblages at both localities, the presence of Discinisca may indicate environments with either low oxygen levels and/or few predators or competitors.


Inarticulate brachiopods; Pierre Shale; Maastrichtian; Inoceramids; Ammonites; Encrustation

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