Abstract

Wound morphologies on the Recent Mediterranean echinoid Sphaerechinus granularis (Lamarck) from the Italian island of Giglio allow the reconstruction of predation events by sparid fish. These lethal attacks leave characteristic bite marks and other features including scratch marks of teeth, bitten off spines, and fragmented jaw supports. The bite marks consist of semicircular indentation on the edge of a gaping wound showing intraplate fragmentation. The attack is initiated on the upper side of the echinoid test. Comparison of predation traces to jaw and tooth morphologies allows the sparid fish Diplodus vulgaris (Geoffroy Saint-Hillaire) and Diplodus sargus (L.) to be identified as the most likely predators. This type of fish predation is compared to other known predatory attacks on echinoid taxa in the Mediterranean Sea. The fossilization potential of this type of predation is discussed with respect to test preservation, based on the degree of fragmentation, abrasion and encrustation of the individual tests, and the specific habitat in which these echinoids are found.

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