Drotops megalomanicus trilobite known for its bulky, robust body and size. This Drotops Megalomanicus renamed several years ago previously known as Phacops Rana Africanus. From Morocco, North Africa. Named from Greek latin megalo, great or large, mania, frenzy or madness.Genus: Drotops Megalomanicus. (Phacops Rana Africanus). Phylum Arthropoda, Class Trilobita, Order Phacopida, Family Phacopidae, Genus Drotops, Species type D.megalomanicus, Binomial name Drotops megalomanicus, Struve, 1990. Age: Paleozoic Era, Middle Devonian, approximately 390 million years. Origin: Region Mader near Erfoud, Djebel Issimour, Alnif, Morocco North Africa.
This Drotops megalomanicus trilobite thoracic segments have been engineered by evolution to interlock and provide armour with flexibility, under this exoskeleton, which is made up from calcium phosphate and calcite minerals woven into a lattice of chitin the arthropod defended its soft body parts now lost to the fossil bed. The chitin exoskeleton wrapped around the back or dorsal surface of the invertebrate and also under the edge or ventral surface, this part of the carapace is termed the doublure, in this type D.megalomanicus the heavily encrusted exoskeleton clearly seen in the pictures above have many tubercles but no spines, we do not know positively what these were for, some suggest they could be for a feel or sensory enablement or defence.
This arthropod has three lobes along its length, the axial lobe is the central lobe the left and right in plan view are the pleural lobes, these name it, from the Greek, tri-lobite, 3 lobes, also the other three main parts of the trilobites exoskeleton are the glabella (head), thorax (body) and pygidium (tail). The carapace is shed as the trilobite grew, we find them enrolled in the fossil bed, which could possibly be a defence posture or shed exoskeleton. This fine large specimen is just that an enrolled trilobite, this enables us to study the hypostome (mouth) on the ventral view, and cephalic doublure (under edge fringe), which can be seen around the trilobites chin area in the images above.
Fewer specimens are discovered in many fossil beds in Morocco compared to heyday discoveries, the depleted fossil beds become more difficult to work out and manage as fossil material has to be exhumed from deeper and deeper fossil layers. There are many factors which influence fossil trilobite collecting generally, at one time collecting good quality specimens from this particular fossil location was a productive exercise. Now across several trilobite species from Morocco, we find less and less specimens. Many established fossil beds suffer more frequent flooding, a dwindling resource of specimens and much deeper excavations are necessary. the over burden of vast amounts of sedimentary limestone contribute particularly to the large Phacopida types becoming much more difficult to exhume.