Invertebrate trace fossils from the Alveley Member, Salop Formation (Pennsylvanian, Carboniferous), Shropshire, UK

Joshua Hedge, Anthony Shillito, Neil Davies, Richard Butler, Ivan Sansom

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2 Citations (Scopus)
327 Downloads (Pure)


The late Carboniferous–early Permian was a period of major environmental change, with the rainforests that covered the equatorial zone during the Carboniferous disappearing due to increasing aridification. This environmental transition had significant impacts on the terrestrial biota, including a major extinction event among plant and vertebrate groups. A rich and unique ichnofauna from the Alveley Member (Moscovian: Westphalian D) of the Salop Formation at Alveley in Shropshire (England) has yielded important insights into late Carboniferous terrestrial communities. However, research to date has focused entirely on the vertebrate footprints. Abundant invertebrate ichnofossils also occur at Alveley, typically on the rippled upper surfaces of beds assigned to a floodplain facies that preserve the vertebrate tracks in hyporelief on their base. We provide the first detailed examination of the invertebrate ichnofauna from Alveley, identifying six ichnospecies within five ichnogenera (Diplichnites, Gordia, Paleohelcura, Palmichnium, Protichnites), including a new species of the common arthropod ichnogenus Diplichnites. This moderately diverse invertebrate ichnofauna is dominated by arthropod repichnia. There is no evidence of infaunal bioturbation and the single example of Gordia indicates limited sediment grazing activity. The Alveley ichnofauna is typical of Euramerican continental ichnoassemblages from the very latest Carboniferous, and indicates a moderate diversity of arthropods (crustaceans, arachnids and chelicerates) living alongside the marginal freshwater to terrestrial assemblage of temnospondyl amphibians, and basal synapsid, diadectomorph and captorhinomorph amniotes.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-111
Number of pages9
JournalProceedings of the Geologists' Association
Issue number1
Early online date23 Oct 2018
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2019


  • Arthropods
  • Carboniferous
  • Taxonomy
  • Terrestrialisation
  • Trace fossils

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geology
  • Palaeontology


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