Transactions of the Royal Society of Edinburgh: Earth Sciences

Life and environment of fossil forms

Arthropod ichnofauna of the Old Red Sandstone at Dunure and Montrose, Scotland

Elaine F. Walkera1

a1 Department of Geology, University of Manchester, Manchester M13 9PL, England.


Sediments which occur frequently within Lower Devonian andesites of the Midland Valley of Scotland have so far yielded trace fossils in only two areas: Dunure, Ayrshire and Montrose, Angus.

Smith (1909) interpreted the trace fossils from Dunure as representing an “Upland Fauna” and he named 23 new ichnogenera. Re-examination of his localities and specimens suggests that the environment was a shallow ephemeral lake and when sedimentological and preservational factors, size, behavioural variation and synonymy are taken into account, only 8 ichnogenera are here considered valid. These are redefined as Siskemia, Stiaria, Danstairia, Keircalia, Stiallia, Isopodichnus (=Archatomia Smith), Mermia and Merostomichnites. The Montrose ichnofauna of 5 ichnogenera includes a large arthropod trackway Mitchellichnus ferrydenensis gen. and sp. nov.

The trackways from both localities appear to have been formed by various merostomes, crustaceans and possibly early myriapods. The habitat was essentially aquatic although some arthropods may have been amphibious.


  • behavioural variation;
  • ichnocoenosis;
  • Lower Devonian;
  • Midland Valley of Scotland;
  • non-marine;
  • Siskemia;
  • trace fossils.