Drotops armatus Phacopid Moroccan Trilobite

An exemplar of the trilobite evolutionary arms race

Drotops armatus

Trilobites Order Phacopida, Suborder Phacopina, Superfamily Phacopoidea, Family Phacopidae, Subfamily Phacopinae

Geological Time: Middle Devonian

Size: 165 mm long

Fossil Site: Ma'der, Erfoud, Morocco

Phacopid Drotops armatus TrilobiteThis plate displays a rarely seen example of a trilobite related to the more common "Phacops" Drotops megalomanicus found in the Devonian deposits of region Ma'der near Erfoud, Morocco. This Drotops differs mainly in the large number of sharp spines projecting from all surfaces, even the eyes! There are four Drotops varieties known, distinguished by the type and placement of these spines. This one has been prepared on a pedestal of matrix so you can see the hypostome (support for the mouthparts). Armatus means armed; to what purpose could all these spines be put? Fish had just recently evolved true jaws, and the armament here was a response to predation pressures. There are fully NINETY spines preserved here, making this a wonderful example of an evolutionary salvo in the predator/prey arms race.

Also see: Moroccan Trilobites Trilobite Arms Race

click to enlarge


Fossil Museum Navigation:
Fossils Home
Geological Time Paleobiology Geological History Tree of Life
Fossil Sites Fossils Evolution Fossil Record Museum Fossils