ASGP (2015), vol. 85: 445–451


Max WISSHAK (1), Andreas KROH (2), Markus BERTLING (3), Dirk KNAUST (4), Jan K. NIELSEN (5), John W. M. JAGT (6), Christian NEUMANN (7) & Kurt S. S. NIELSEN (8)

1) Marine Research Department, Senckenberg am Meer, 26446 Wilhelmshaven, Germany; e-mail: max.wisshak at
2) Natural History Museum Vienna, 1010 Vienna, Austria; e-mail: andreas.kroh at
3) Geomuseum of the University of Münster, 48149 Münster, Germany; e-mail: markus.bertling at
4) Statoil ASA, 4035 Stavanger, Norway; e-mail: dkna at
5) VNG Norge, 0252 Oslo, Norway; e-mail: bioerosion at
6) Natuurhistorisch Museum Maastricht, 6211 KJ Maastricht, the Netherlands; e-mail: john.jagt at
7) Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science, 10115 Berlin, Germany; e-mail: christian.neumann at
8) Frederikssund Gymnasium, 3600 Frederikssund, Denmark; e-mail: knieslen at

Wisshak, M., Kroh, A., Bertling, M., Knaust, D., Nielsen, J. K., Jagt, J. W. M., Neumann, C. & Nielsen, K. S. S. 2015. In defence of an iconic ichnogenus – Oichnus Bromley, 1981. Annales Societatis Geologorum Poloniae, 85: 445–451.

Abstract: By establishing the bioerosion ichnogenus Oichnus, Richard Bromley (1981) addressed ‘small round holes in shells’ and catalysed a series of still ongoing discussions on ichnotaxonomical principles. In a recent revision by Zonneveld and Gingras (2014), Oichnus was rejected, together with Tremichnus Brett, 1985 and Fossichnus Nielsen, Nielsen and Bromley, 2003, by means of subjective synonymisation with the presumed senior synonym Sedilichnus Müller, 1977. However, Sedilichnus is nomenclaturally unavailable, because it is an atelonym (conditionally proposed). In addition, reinvestigation of the type material of ‘Sedilichnus’ shows that it probably describes variably shaped oscula and thus is a genuine morphological character of the host sponge Prokaliapsisjanus, rather than a bioerosion trace fossil. The ichnogenera Oichnus and Tremichnus are re vised, leading to the synonymisation of Balticapunctum Rozhnov, 1989 with Tremichnus, and of Fossichnus with Oichnus. The refined ichnogeneric diagnoses return Oichnus to complete or incomplete bioerosive penetrations in calcareous skeletal substrates, commonly interpreted as praedichnia with or without signs of attachment, while Tremichnus (now including O. excavatus) exclusively refers to shallow pits passing into echinoderm skeletons that are interpreted as domichnia or fixichnia.

Manuscript received 8 July 2015, accepted 3 August 2015