Brachiopods: Did you know?
Hebertella occidentalis and Glyptorthis insculpta
Brachiopods are a type of marine animal with two external shells. Although superficially similar to the clams (bivalves), the two groups of animals actually have very different internal anatomy and shell composition. (To learn more about the morphology or structure of the brachiopod click here. )
During the Ordovician radiation, the level of biodiversity increased as brachiopods became dominant during the Paleozoic Era. During this period brachiopods filled ecological niches as filter feeders, reef builders, epibionts, and others. Brachiopods exist today in greatly reduced numbers and are typically found in very cold or very deep water.
Specimens of Glyptorthis insculpta appear in the Late Ordovician outcrops of the Cincinnati region as part of the Richmondian Invasion, a regional immigration event that brought in more than 60 new species to the Cincinnnati basin and fundamentally altered the ecosystem. Glyptorthis specimens closely resemble specimens of the native generalist Hebertella occidentalis and invader Plaesiomys subsquadrata and would likely have competed for resources with these closely related species.
Glyptorthis insculpta: Late Ordovician Waynesville Formation; Caesar Creek Dam Spillway, OH 39°28’49”N, 84°03’25” W
Hebertella occidentalis: Late Ordovician Whitewater Formation; Cowan Lake Area, OH 39° 23' 22" N, 83° 55' 38" W
Project's Library of Life Lead: Alycia Stigall
Page Image: Abyssal on Wikimedia
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Digitized Brachiopoda specimens in biological collections.
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