Table of Contents
Paleontology Journal
Volume 2014, Article ID 716053, 14 pages
Review Article

Palaeobiology of Silurian Leptaeninae (Brachiopoda) from Gotland, Sweden

Natural History Museum, University of Oslo, Blindern, P.O. Box 1172, 0318 Oslo, Norway

Received 23 August 2013; Accepted 22 October 2013; Published 21 January 2014

Academic Editor: Olev Vinn

Copyright © 2014 Ole A. Hoel. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Leptaenine brachiopods are common and widespread on Gotland. Lepidoleptaena poulseni and Leptaena rhomboidalis retained a functional apical pedicle throughout ontogeny, and both had strong adductor muscles and robust ornamentation, allowing them to occupy shallow water and high energy environments. A pedicle-shortening muscle is present within the pedicle tube of Leptaena rhomboidalis. Leptaena sperion, L. depressa visbyensis, and L. depressa lata inhabited low energy environments, retaining very slender pedicles. L. depressa depressa and L. parvorugata atrophied the pedicle early and then lived ambitopically in deeper water. The presence or absence of the apical pedicle strongly influenced the cardinal process morphology. Leptaenine shells had a small gape. The lophophore was simple, similar to productids and Leptaenoidea. In closed valves, the inner epithelium of leptaenine trails remained exposed to the sea. This was probably important in gas exchange. The life position of pedically attached species was with the disc vertical. Some ambitopic specimens may have retained a similar attitude. Shells of L. depressa depressa and Lepidoleptaena poulseni commonly are encrusted by epibionts, apparently without problems for larger shells. Small shells are shown to have been killed by bryozoan epizoans. Repaired shell damage is rare on the disc but is common along the commisure.