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Title: Experimental neoichnology of post-autotomy arm movements of sea lilies and possible evidence of thrashing behaviour in Triassic holocrinids
Authors: Gorzelak, Przemysław
Salamon, Mariusz A.
Brom, Krzysztof
Oji, Tatsuo
Oguri, Kazumasa
Kołbuk, Dorota
Dec, Marek
Brachaniec, Tomasz
Saucède, Thomas
Keywords: experimental neoichnology; sea lilies; Triassic holocrinids; palaeoecology; palaeontology
Issue Date: 2020
Citation: “Scientific Reports” Vol. 10 (2020), art. no. 15147
Abstract: Echinoderms exhibit remarkable powers of autotomy. For instance, crinoids can shed arm and stalk portions when attacked by predators. In some species, it has been reported that the autotomized arms display vigorous movements, which are thought to divert the attention of predators. This phenomenon, however, has not been well explored. Here we present results of experiments using the shallowest water species of living stalked crinoid (Metacrinus rotundus) collected at 140 m depth. A wide range of movements of detached arms, from sluggish writhing to violent flicks, was observed. Interestingly, autotomized arms produce distinct traces on the sediment surface. They are composed of straight or arched grooves usually arranged in radiating groups and shallow furrows. Similar traces were found associated with detached arms of the oldest (Early Triassic) stem-group isocrinid (Holocrinus). This finding may suggest that the origins of autotomy-related thrashing behaviour in crinoids could be traced back to at least the Early Triassic, underscoring the magnitude of anti-predatory traits that occurred during the Mesozoic Marine Revolution. A new ethological category, autotomichnia, is proposed for the traces produced by thrashing movements of shed appendages.
DOI: 10.1038/s41598-020-72116-1
ISSN: 2045-2322
Appears in Collections:Artykuły (WNP)

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