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Trilobite Facts and Information

Asaphiscus Triolobites

Asaphiscus wheeleri trilobite fossil from Utah

Fast Facts about the Asaphiscus Trilobites

Name: Asaphiscus wheeleri: The name Asaphiscus is based off the taxonomic family: Asaphiscidae. Wheeleri is named after the formation it's found in, the Wheeler Formation.

The main species name is wheeleri, not kingi. It was named by Meek in 1870. The work Kingii means King.

Taxonomy: Phylum: Arthropoda - Class: Trilobita - Order: Ptychopariida - Family: Asaphiscidae - Genus: Asaphiscus

Species: A. wheeleri & A. laeviceps

Age: Cambrian

Distribution: North America
These are common North American Trilobites found in Cambrian exposures.

Body Size:
Asaphiscus is a medium sized trilobite. They can grow to around a maximum of 3 inches in size.

Particle Feeder
They scavanged the ocean floor.

Physical Appearance:
Asaphiscus are very plain looking. They have no spines or ornamentation adn have a round cephalon and pygidium.

Asaphiscus Trilobite Facts and Information

Asaphiscus wheeleri is a plain looking trilobite from the Cambrian. It is one of the more abundant trilobites in the Wheeler Shale. Their body shape and mouth parts suggest Asaphiscus, as well as the rest of the order, was a particle feeder that walked along the sea floor.

Asaphiscus trilobites are mostly found with the free cheeks missing. The average size for an Asaphiscus is around 1 to 2 inches. Large ones are around 2.5", and HUGE ones are around 3". The largest COMPLETE one I've seen is one I've found (image below), it's at 2 7/8" (73mm).

Where to find Asaphiscus Trilobite Fossils

U Dig Quarry - An easy place to find Asaphiscus Trilobites.
U-Dig images by Albert B. Dickas, who is the author of some great Geology and Fossil Books!

Asaphiscus trilobites are mainly found along with Elrathia trilobites in the Cambrian Wheeler Shale in Utah and Nevada. They are the most common trilobite found in these areas.

To try and find your own Asaphiscus wheeleri trilobites, I would suggest going to the U-Dig quarry near Delta, Utah.

Click here to read about my trilobite fossil collecing trip in the Wheeler Shale near Delta, Utah

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.

Trilobites for Sale:

Trilobites from Fossil Era
Trilobite fossils are some of the most beautiful and collectible fossils in the world! They make beautiful display and conversation pieces and make affordable gifts for 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!

Asaphiscus wheeleri Fossil Examples

All of the following fossil specimens come from the House Range in Utah

Timelapse Video of Prep Sequence


Asaphiscus wheeleri trilobite fossil prep sequence

This is another view of huge the Asaphiscus trilobite.

This is the largest complete Asaphiscus trilobite I've seen. It is also interesting, where its shell is REALLY thin and is wavy. The means it probably just molted and died, the exoskeleton didn't have time to harden (kind of like a soft shell crab). The video below shows it being prepped.

This is a beautiful orange Asaphiscus wheeleri trilobite fossil.

Formation:Wheeler Shale
Location:House Range, Utah

Overview of the Orange Asaphiscus wheeleri trilobite fossil

Photos of the preparation of the orange Asaphiscus wheeleri trilobite fossil.

This small Asaphiscus trilobite is inverted, the exoskeletin curves inward.

Formation:Wheeler Shale
Location:House Range, Utah

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