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The distribution of worm borings in brachiopod shells from the Caradoc Oil Shale of Estonia

Keywords: Ordovician , Estonia , oil shale , Brachiopoda , Trypanites , palaeoecology

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Abundant worm borings were found in some brachiopod shells (Clitambonites, Estlandia, Nicolella) from the Ordovician (Caradoc) oil shale in North Estonia. 9 of 21 brachiopod genera (43 %) have been bored. Excluding the size and thickness of valves, no common morphological feature discriminates the brachiopods with borings from those without them. The Trypanites are host-specific, and the frequency of bored valves varies from 6.5 % in Bekkerina to 51 % in Estlandia. The worm larvae preferred hosts with thick lamellose shells, such as those of the clitambonitids, especially Clitambonites schmidti. The boring organisms were size-selective; they preferred large adult specimens. The majority of the borings are oriented, and living hosts were preferred to dead shells. Some clitambonitidine brachiopods, like C. schmidti tolerated a large number of the borer's shafts in their valves. Few bored valves have the blister-like shell-repair structures in their interior.


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