Australia: The Land Where Time Began

A biography of the Australian continent 

Talbragar Fish Beds - Insects

Among the insects recovered from Talbragar Fossil Fish Beds are Cicada? lowei (Etheridge & Olliff, 1890). The southernmost extent of the deposit has produced some described taxa, though there are also a few that have been found in the northern part of the deposit, the most widely explored. Among the insects found in the deposit, said to be at least 50, are a water boatman, rove beetle, stone fly larva, jumping plant louse, dragonfly naiads, lacewings and assorted beetles, including at least 1 water beetle and a single bark beetle.

At least 3 sites in the Cattamarra Coal Measures Member, Cockleshell Gully Formation, in the Perth Basin, Western Australia, have produced insects, Coleoptera and Blattaria. The authors³ suggest there may be scope for more biogeographical research on the fauna (Jell, 2004; Martin, 2005). There is an insect fauna that is apparently diverse (R. Beattie, pers. comm. to the authors) that has yet to be studied thoroughly, so its stratigraphic, palaeoenvironmental and palaeobiogeographic significance cannot yet be evaluated. According to the authors there is moderate potential for investigations of other non-marine fossil groups from the Jurassic in Australian. An example is the oldest know leech cocoons that have been describe that were recovered from the Gatton Sandstone in the Clarence-Moreton Basin, of probably Pliensbachian age, situated well above the appearance of Classopollis cf. chateaunovi that defines the Hettangian-Sinemurian boundary (Jansson et al., 2008). The cocoons of leeches and oligochaetes appear to be relatively common in the fossil record throughout the world (Manum et al., 1991), though they have been poorly studied, and are suggested by the authors³ to possibly have potential to provide  palaeoenvironmental or palaeobiogeographic indices when more records are published and the taxonomy is better resolved.

Within deltaic and shallow marine sequences that are intersected during hydrocarbon exploration along the margin of Western Australia trace fossil assemblages have proved to be of great value as facies demarcation tools (Burns et al., 2001; Burns & Taylor, 2005).

Sources & Further reading

  1. Turner, S., Bean, L.B., Dettmann, M., McKellar, J. L., McLoughlin, S. & Thulborn, 2009; Australian Jurassic sedimentary and fossil successions: current work and future prospects for marine and non-marine correlation, GFF, Vol. 31, (Pt 1-2, June), pp 49-70. Stockholm, ISSN 1103-5897
  2. Cook, Alexi et al., 2012, Australia's Fossil Heritage: A Catalogue of Important Australian Fossil Sites, The Australian Heritage Council, CSIRO Publishing.


Author: M. H. Monroe
Last updated 15/08/2012

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