, Volume 99, Issue 6, pp 501–504

The oral cone of Anomalocaris is not a classic ‘‘peytoia’’


    • Department of PalaeontologyNatural History Museum, Cromwell Road
    • Department of Earth SciencesUniversity of Bristol
  • Jan Bergström
    • Department of PalaeozoologySwedish Museum of Natural History
Short Communication

DOI: 10.1007/s00114-012-0910-8

Cite this article as:
Daley, A.C. & Bergström, J. Naturwissenschaften (2012) 99: 501. doi:10.1007/s00114-012-0910-8


The Cambro-Ordovician anomalocaridids are large ecdysozoans commonly regarded as ancestors of the arthropods and apex predators. Predation is indicated partly by the presence of an unusual “peytoia”-type oral cone, which is a tetraradial outer ring of 32 plates, four of which are enlarged and in perpendicular arrangement. This oral cone morphology was considered a highly consistent and defining characteristic of well-known Burgess Shale taxa. It is here shown that Anomalocaris has a different oral cone, with only three large plates and a variable number of smaller and medium plates. Its functional morphology suggests that suction, rather than biting, was used for food ingestion, and that anomalocaridids in general employed a range of different scavenging and predatory feeding strategies. Removing anomalocaridids from the position of highly specialized trilobite predators forces a reconsideration of the ecological structure of the earliest marine animal communities in the Cambrian.


AnomalocarididsCambrianOral conePeytoiaPredationBurgess Shale

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© Springer-Verlag 2012