Abstract

Microconchids have been described from the classic Pennsylvanian locality at Joggins, Nova Scotia. These encrusting tentaculitoid tubeworms have previously been mentioned and described from Joggins under the polychaete genus Spirorbis. Detailed morphological and microstructural investigation revealed that they belong to the species Microconchus carbonarius Murchison, confirming the previous tentative assignment (as Spirorbis carbonarius) made by Sir J. William Dawson in the nineteenth century. The occurrence of the same species in Upper Carboniferous deposits of England provides evidence supporting a connection between England and Nova Scotia in the Late Carboniferous (Pennsylvanian). Migration of the species could have been possible via brackish seas connecting both areas during maximum sea level during the Pennsylvanian. The species inhabited retrograding poorly drained coastal plain and open-water brackish environments, encrusting bivalve shells and plant remains in both sandstone and limestone deposits. Their high density (up to 19 individuals/cm2) may have resulted from their aggregative behaviour, high fecundity, and a lack of any competition with other skeleton-bearing encrusters. The large number (34%) of regenerated tubes indicates that microconchids were often preyed upon by associated animals, most probably fishes, which could graze on their dense encrusting aggregations.

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