Brachiopods have existed from the Cambrian to recent times (550 million
years ago to the present). Greater than 3,000 genera have been
identified and described to date. About 70 genera are still
living today. All are salt water species. The brachiopod
shell is made up of two valves, or sides. The pedicle valve is
the bottom (ventral side) and has a hole or slit through which the
stalk, or pedicle of the brachiopod extends and attaches itself to the
sea floor. The smaller, brachial valve is the dorsal side, or top
of the brachiopod.
Brachiopods are made up of two main
groups: the hinged group - Articulata and the unhinged group -
Inarticulata. They are further divided into 12 orders:
Inarticulata - Lingulida; Articulata - Orthida, Strophomenida,
Pentamerida, Rhynchonellida, Spiriferida, Terebratulida, Acrotretida,
Productida, Punctospiriferida, Dalmentida, Triplesiatida.
This section has been set up to showcase
individual brachiopods. They have been sorted first by location
and then within each location by species.