Ichnogenus: Trichophycus Miller & Dyer, 1878

Taxonomic Details

Ichnospecies: (Holland, UGA Strat Lab)

  • Trichophycus lanosum (Miller & Dyer, 1878) – Possesses a button-like end – Corryville
  • Trichophycus venosum (Miller, 1879) – Commonly called “Turkey Tracks” – Corryville, Fairmount, Economy

Stratigraphic Occurrences

Geographic Occurrences


Stratigraphic Description

Sequences (Formations)

  • C3 Sequence (Corryville)
  • C2 Sequence (Fairview: Fairmount)
  • C1 Sequence (Economy)

Identification in Hand Sample

  • General morphology: Subhorizontal burrow or burrow system composed of one or more broad, U-shaped burrows
  • Branching: None
  • Surface ornamentation: Scratch marks on surface of burrow
  • Fill: Backfilled
  • Lining: None
  • Spreiten: May have some vertically oriented spreite

Paleoenvironmental Parameters

  • Substrate: Soft- to firmground
  • Oxygen content: Low-high
  • Nutrient content: Low-high
  • Energy: Moderate


  • Behavior: Dwelling and feeding
  • Tracemaker: Arthropods, annelids

Potential Environments

  • Marine

Trichophycus (OUIP 2310)

Published Description

Hasiotis (KU Ichnology, 2014):

  • Subhorizontal burrow or burrow system composed of one or more broad, originally open, U-shaped burrows, characteristically having a nodose gallery, and in exceptionally well-preserved cases, with biradial striation on the walls of nodes. These features distinguish Trichophycus from Treptichnus.

Buckman (1997):

  • Trichophycus is defined as a “burrow system composed of a series of cylindrical or subcylindrical segments which are curved upward. Segments or part of them may be stacked in a vertical plane to form teichichnoid structures” (Geyer and Uchman, 1995, p. 185).

Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology, Part W, Miscellanea Supplement 1 (1975):

  • Description: “Large cylindrical burrows showing slight constrictions, 15 to 25 cm long, diameter 1 to 3 cm; floor of burrow ornamented by fine striae radiating from midline; some forms (e.g., T. venosus Miller, 1879) with a few vertically directed secondary branches; backfill structure of burrows similar to Teichichnus or Pennatulites; type species T. lanosus consists of sinuous trails ending (?anteriorly) in buttonlike depression from which radiate fine straie; the ichnogenus better typified by more common ichnospecies T. venosus.” W. Hantzschel 1975
  • Interpretation: Interpreted by Seilacher & Crimes (1969, p. 148) as feeding burrows probably made by small trilobites (trinucleids?), striation of burrows (=scratches) indicate lateral movement of animals in burrows. For history and interpretation of trace fossil (originally described as alga, later as inorganic in origin), including a very detailed discussion of synonymy, see Osgood (1970, p. 346-350). Entire morphology of the two ichnospecies, however, still requires some study; particularly of T. lanosus, now regarded by Osgood (1970, p. 347) as perhaps “a behavioral variant of the same organism that produced T. venosum.”