Ichnogenus: Diplocraterion Torell, 1870

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Stratigraphic Occurrences

Geographic Occurrences

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Sequences (Formations)

  • C4-C6 Sequences (Richmond Group)
  • C3 Sequence (Corryville)
  • C1 Sequence (Clays Ferry/Kope: McMicken)

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Identification in Hand Sample

  • General morphology: U-shaped burrow with arms that are parallel or divergent
  • Branching: None
  • Surface ornamentation: None
  • Fill: Backfilled
  • Lining: None
  • Spreiten: Yes, always perpendicular to surface

Paleoenvironmental Parameters

  • Substrate: Softground
  • Oxygen content: Low-high
  • Nutrient content: Low-high
  • Energy: Low-high


  • Behavior: Dwelling structure of a suspension feeder
  • Tracemaker: Crustaceans, shrimp, worms

Potential Environments

  • Fully marine (intertidal and shallow subtidal; deep fans and shelves)

Diplocraterion from the Kope Formation of Foster, Kentucky (OUIP 48); plan view left, side view right

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Hasiotis (KU, 2013):

  • Description: Vertical, U-shaped burrow with spreite; has arms that are parallel or divergent. Top of burrow forms a relatively wide semi-spherical bulb or dumbbell shape; tube can be indicative of protrusive (downward movement) or retrusive (upward movement) burrowing relative to position of spreite.
  • Interpretations: Dwelling burrow of a suspension feeder; found in intertidal and shallow subtidal environments and in deep-water environments like fans and distal shelves; crustaceans, shrimp

Fossils of Ohio (1996):

  • Diplocraterion consists of a vertical, U-shaped tube; in some specimens, small extensions emanate from each side of the base of the tube. Curved spreiten extend between the two arms of the U. Some specimens are found with all of these elements present. However, partial specimens, such as impressions of the bottom of the tube, also are common. Diplocraterion is similar in shape to Rhizocorallium, however, Rhizocoralliumis oriented horizontally to the rock bedding. Diplocraterionis common in the Cincinnatian series. It can also be found in other Ohio rocks, including the Mississippian Logan Formation. It was probably formed by filter feeding worms.

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

  • “U-shaped burrow with spreite; vertical to bedding plane; limbs of U parallel; both limbs of each successive U-tube confluent with limbs of preceding U-tube (Knox, 1972, p. 134); openings of tubes mostly funnel-shaped (but apparently often truncated by erosion); commonly protrusive, but also retrusive forms observed; bottom of burrow semicircular, rarely straight; horizontal cross section on bedding planes dumbbell shaped; diameter of tubes 5 to 15 mm, distance between limbs 1 to 7 cm, depth of burrows 2 to 15 cm (max 35).” W. Hantzschel 1975
  • Interpretation: Dwelling burrow of suspension feeding animal, probably living in environment of high wave energy; several stages of erosion and sedimentation may be recognized from various levels of tube (e.g., D. yoyo; see Goldring, 1962, p. 235, and Fig. 16); intermediate forms between Diplocraterion and Rhizocorallium observed in the Carboniferous of Scotland (hisholm, 1970b. p. 49.)

Fursich (1974):

  • Diagnosis. – U-shaped burrows with spreite, always perpendicular to bedding plane; tubes ending in large funnels, in small shallow ones or remaining subcylindrical to surface (from Hantzschel 1962, p. W192 and Hanzschel 1965, p. 32)

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