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A new Psilonichnus ichnospecies attributed to mud-shrimp Upogebia in estuarine settings

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  14 July 2015

Elizabeth A. Nesbitt
Burke Museum of Natural History and Culture, Box 353010, University of Washington, Seattle, Washington 98195-3010, <>
Kathleen A. Campbell
Department of Geology, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand, <>


Psilonichnus lutimuratus n. ichnosp. is described from a Pliocene estuarine-mouth depositional environment (Skolithos ichnofacies) of the Olympic Peninsula, Washington, U.S.A. These simple Y-, I-, and J-shaped, mud-lined burrows occur in situ as dense patches within alternating, wavy-bedded sandstone and mudstone in a storm and flood influenced coastal sequence from an active tectonic margin. The I- and J-shaped traces represent erosional modification of burrow tops during storm-flood events. The new ichnospecies differs from the two other Psilonichnus ichnospecies by the distinct mud-lining of the burrow wall. Comparison with living thalassinoidean shrimp burrows and shrimp ecology allow this new ichnospecies to be attributed to the extant mud shrimp Upogebia. Biological and behavioral characteristics of this living shrimp restrict it to the mouth of the open estuary, and these parameters can be used to narrowly define a shoreline environment in the stratigraphic record.

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