Brachiopods have thrived in the world's oceans for more than 550 million years and were especially common before about 250 million years ago, since when the superficially similar but unrelated bivalves have become the dominant shellfish on the sea floor. Unlike bivalve molluscs, brachiopods are found only in the sea. Most are filter-feeders living on the sea floor, although a few types burrow into mud or sand.

Brachiopods are common fossils in Northern Ireland, particularly in Carboniferous rocks (about 340 million years ago) when some attained quite a large size (more than 150 mm across). Small brachiopods are not uncommmon near the base of the Ulster White Limestone Formation (Upper Cretaceous) but they are quite scarce in the Waterloo Mudstone Formation (Lower Jurassic).










more brachiopods will be added to these pages in due course

Home ]