To clarify the process of producing the striations in the trace fossil Asteriacites, we observed the behavior of living ophiuroids and asteroids in aquariums. When ophiuroids stopped crawling, they buried themselves shallowly in the substratum, removing substratum under their arms and discs by using their tube-feet. The basal-arm tube-feet produce well spaced, fine, parallel striations that are perpendicular to the arm axis. The oral tube-feet produce fine, radial striations in the central depression. When the ophiuroids resumed crawling, they raised their disc and four arms above the substratum and dragged one arm backward. The one backward arm erased the striations, and parallel fine striations remained in four arm depressions. Similarly, asteroids also produced wide and shallow striations perpendicular to the arm axis by tube-feet movement. When the asteroids started to move again, they bulldozed the substratum under the one preceding arm, where the striations were erased. Since the asteroids crawled raising the other four arms by their tube feet which produced rough and deep striations, the wide and shallow striations remained only in a half of each arm depression. The striations of Asteriacites lumbricalis and A. quinquefolius were similar in shape to the striations produced by movement of tube feet of living ophiuroids and asteroids, respectively.
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Vol. 21 • No. 1