Evidence that the fossil insect trackway Bifurculapes laqueatus Hitchcock, 1858 was made underwater

Patrick R. Getty


Three trackways attributable to the ichnospecies Bifurculapes laqueatus Hitchcock, 1858 found in Lower Jurassic rocks of the Newark Supergroup in northeastern North America are preserved in association with current lineations. Each trackway takes turns so that parts of the trackway parallel the current lineations. This parallelism is interpreted as evidence that the trackmakers were entrained in flowing water and had to change course due to the current. If this interpretation is correct, then morphological differences between B. laqueatus and terrestrial insect trackways could be explained by the trackmaker moving subaqueously. Further, B. laqueatus would constitute only the second insect trackway from this region to be recognized as being made subaqueously. From an ecological standpoint, the aquatic insects that made B. laqueatus were probably near the base of the local food chain, the apex predators of which were piscivorous theropod dinosaurs.


Aquatic; Ichnology; Arthropods; Mesozoic; Jurassic

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