• "Celebrating the Richness of Paleontology through Fossil Hunting"

Cryptolithus Triolobites
The Lace Collar Trilobite

Beautiful cryptolithus trilobite fossil, showing the lace collar. ossils found at Swatara Gap, Pennsylvania


Fast Facts about the Cryptolithus Trilobites

Cryptolithus trilobite fossils from Swatara Gap, Pennsylvania.


Name: Cryptolithus (pronunciation: "crypto - lithus") - In Latin, Crypto means "hidden" and Lithus means "stone". Cryptolithus translates into "Hidden Stone".

Common Name: "Lace Collar" Trilobite:
The little pits, or fenestrae on the priphery of the cephalon used for filter feeding look like miniature lace collars.

Taxonomy: Phylum: Arthropoda - Class: Trilobita - Order: Asaphida - Superfamily: Trinucleioidea - Family: Trinucleidae - Genus: Cryptolithus

Species: C. Bellulus and C. Tessellatus

Age: Ordovician

Distribution: North America

Body Size:
Cryptolithus are small trilobites. They are usually less than one inch in length (25 mm).

Diet:
Filter Feeder

Physical Appearance:
The cephalon of cryptoluthus is wide and contains main small holes. These holes were used for filter feeding. Cryptolithus also have very long genial spines. The spines are longer than the trilobite.





Cryptolithus Trilobite Facts and Information - The Details


Cryptolithus trilobites are a genus of small (less than an inch), blind, trilobites from the Ordovician. They are often called "Lace Collar" Trilobites, because of the little pits, or fenestrae on the priphery of the cephalon. These pits can easily be seen in the images above. The pits were actuall holes, The trilobite would stir up sediment and filter it through these holes. It was thus a filter feeder, feeding on debris near the bottom of the sea floor.

Lace collar trilobites, besides for the lace-like cephalon, are also known for their very long genial spines. These spines are actually longer than the trilobite, from cephalon to pygidium.

Although they are a very small genus of trilobite, they are incredibly beautiful. Unfortunately, most of the time they are found as fragments. However, some Ordovician formations were preserved in just the right conditions to leave these trilobites intact. One such formation is the Martinsburg Formation. This formation was exposed in the famous Swatara Gap, in Lebanon County, PA. This formation left casts of the trilobites coated in a fine rust colored powder called limonite. Limonite is a type of iron oxide, specifically, it's an iron oxide-hydroxide powder.




Where to find Cryptolithus Trilobite Fossils


Cryptolithus can be found in the upper Ordovician formations in North America.

The world famous specimens of C. bellulus come from the Martinsburg Formation. A famouse collecting locality for this formation was the Swatara Gap locality in Lebanon County, Pennsylvania. Here, the fossils, including complete Cryptolithus, are coated with a beautiful rusty iron-oxide powder. Cryptolithus tessellatus are common in the Kope Formation. The Kope formation is an extensive upper Ordovician formation that runs through Kentucky, Indiana, and Ohio. Unfortunately, whole Cryptolithus trilobites are rare in this formation, although fragments can be abundant



Cryptolithus fragments in a Kope Formation 'hash plate'



The above and below images show 'hash plate' sections from the Kope Formation. It is composed almost entirely of crinoid fragments, some brachiopods, bryozoans, and Cryptolithus trilobite fragments.



Kope formation Matrix - Crinoids and Cryptolithus fragments.




Recommended Books




Trilobites: Common Trilobites of North America (A NatureGuide Book)
by Jasper Burns, 2000

Jasper Burns has some great illustrated fossil guide books. This one is on the Trilobites of North America. It has detailed illustrations of 41 species of North American trilobites and includes information about trilobite paleobiology, vision, growth, extinction, and much more! It's a nice little resource book for those interested in North American trilobites. It's also a very inexpensive book. Check it out!




The Trilobite Book: A Visual Journey
by Dr. Riccardo Levi-Setti, 2014

This is an updated (2014) hardcover (kindle available) of his famous 1994 book. It now has color images instead of black and white ones. The images are of prefectly prepared trilobites from all over the world. this book is geared toward the beginner and does not get overly technical. However, it's wonderful just to see the pictures and is a must for any trilobite enthusiast.




A Sea without Fish: Life in the Ordovician Sea of the Cincinnati Region (Life of the Past)
by Richard Arnold Davis and David L. Meyer, 2009

This book gives a comprehensive view of life in the Ordovician seas. This is a wonderful introduction to the geology, paleontology, and paleobiology of the Ohio seas 450 million years ago is full of illustrations. If you have ever wondered what exactly the Ordovician of Ohio and the surrounding states looked like, this is your window!



Trilobites for Sale:


Trilobites from Fossil Era
Trilobite fossils are some of the most beautiful and collectible fossils in the world! There are countless species of trilobites. They make beautiful display and conversation pieces. Common ones make very affordable for gifts to fossil and paleontology enthusiasts. Fossil Era has a huge selection of top quality trilobites from many states and many countries. It's fun just to browse through the inventory and look at all the different types!




Cryptolithus Fossil Examples




Cryptolithus Bellulus from Swatara Gap

This is a beautiful cryptolithus preserved in iron-oxide power. Notice the lace collar, and long genial spines.

Formation:Martinsburg Formation
Age:Upper Ordovician
Location:Swatara Gap, Lebanon Co., PA



This is a nother complete cryptolithus trilobite fossil. The lace collar is not very visible at this angle.

Formation:Martinsburg Formation
Age:Upper Ordovician
Location:Swatara Gap, Lebanon Co., PA



This is a cephalon of a cryptolithus

Formation:Martinsburg Formation
Age:Upper Ordovician
Location:Swatara Gap, Lebanon Co., PA



Cryptolithus tessellatus from the Kope Formation

This is part of a 'hash plate' from the Kope Formation. It shows numerous Crinoid fragments, as well as pieces of bryozoan, brachiopods, and Cryptolithus tessellatus trilobites.

Formation:Kope Formation
Age:Ordovician
Location:Ohio


Popular Content

About the Author

Contact Us

To ask Questions about Paleontology, Fossil Identification, Image Use, or anything else, email us.

Fossilguy.com is very active on Facebook, you can also message us there!

We don't buy or sell fossils, so please don't email us asking about the value of a fossil or fossil purchases.


If you enjoy this site, Like our Website and Facebook Page:




Privacy Policy / Disclaimer

Click here for the Privacy Policy and Legal Disclaimer


Back to the TOP of page

© 2000 - 2018 FOSSILGUY.COM : All rights reserved

Fossilguy.com is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com