Tealliocaris

Tealliocaris from Cheese Bay, East Lothian

Tealliocaris from Cheese Bay, East Lothian

Tealliocaris fossil shrimps are found in Southern and Central Scotland and represent the country’s best preserved Carboniferous crustaceans. The fossil shrimps in the Gullane ‘shrimp bed’ – an oil shale group – are often found intact and are preserved in various stages of life, giving palaeontologists a unique insight into the biology of Tealliocaris. Dating from the Lower Carboniferous, between 359 and 327 million years ago, the shrimps were not unlike those found today in terms of how they looked, measuring around 25 millimetres in length with long antennae, tail fan and five pairs of legs.

The shrimps lived in a marginal marine environment; low-salinity lagoons or lakes with occasional influxes of sea-water. They walked on the lagoon bottom as well as swimming, but little is known about their diet.