Brachiopods in Mud: Resolution of a Dilemma

See allHide authors and affiliations

Science  13 Mar 1981:
Vol. 211, Issue 4487, pp. 1161-1163
DOI: 10.1126/science.211.4487.1161


Assumptions made from studies of sparse living faunas of brachiopods, namely, that they are intolerant of mud, that the free-lying habit is confined to species without pedicles, and that the pedicle of articulate brachiopods is uniform in structure and function, do not withstand critical examination. Studies in New Zealand show that some species in the same area occur in both attached and free-lying populations. Individuals cannot always be differentiated morphologically, but the structure of populations from hard and soft substrates is distinctive. Attachment to a substrate appears to be a larval rather than an adult requirement in most species.