Cryptic encrusting fauna inside invertebrate fossils from the Ordovician of Estonia

Olev Vinn, Andrej Ernst, Ursula Toom, Mare Isakar


This is the first report of encrusted cryptic surfaces in the Ordovician of Estonia. Only bryozoans and cornulitids occurred in nautiloids and trilobites. Bryozoans were the dominant encrusters, in terms of both the number of specimens and the encrustation area. Stalked echinoderms are common on the hardgrounds in the Middle and Upper Ordovician of Baltica, but the restricted space in nautiloid living chambers and trilobites probably prevented colonization by stalked echinoderms. Cryptic surfaces in nautiloids and trilobites usually are somewhat more encrusted than the open surfaces of hardgrounds in the Ordovician of Estonia. Encrusters presumably favoured cryptic surfaces, as these were less accessible for predators and grazers. Low encrustation densities, compared to North American hard substrates, seem to be characteristic for the Ordovician Baltic Basin.

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