Rare Heliopeltis Trilobite

Heliopeltis johnsoni

Trilobites Order Corynexochida, Family Styginidae

Geological Time: Early/Middle Devonian Transition Emsian/Eifelian Stage

Size: Trilobite is 45 mm long

Fossil Site: Quadrops Couche, Tazoulait Formation, Jebel Ofaten, Morocco

Rare Heliopeltis TrilobiteDescription: A member of the Order Corynexochida, Family Styginidae from the Early/Middle Devonian deposits of Jebel Ofaten, Morocco, this is a member of the genus Heliopeltis. The dramatic occipital spines make this one easily distinguishable from other members of its family. Indeed it appears to be almost entirely composed of spines, quite a mouthful for any would-be predator. Once known as Andegavia, these trilobites are only rarely offered. I have seen less than a literal handful in 15 years, and all are in this contraflexed position. The authors of the paper that described these unusual trilobites speculate that they are molts or possibly pulled into this posture postmortem by muscular contraction. I personally think the latter view more likely. Notice the many fine eye facets on this specimen. Kolihapeltis rabatensis is a more often seen but nonetheless dramatic relative of Heliopeltis.

Reference: Papers in Paleontology, 20215, pp1-33.

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Heliopeltis johnsoni



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