The term “ichnofacies” (pl. ichnofacies) has been used in two slightly different meanings:
- A universal trace fossil assemblage in terms of the ethology of the tracemakers. This definition is the original one and is often referred to as “archetypal -”, “Seilacherian -”, “global -” or even “universal ichnofacies”. These ichnofacies were established by the recognition of ethological key features that ichnocoenoses of a wide geographical and timely range living under similar environmental conditions share.
- A rock unit characterised by an assemblage or an association of trace fossils (e.g. based on ichnotaxa or ichnofabrics). This definition is in analogy with lithofacies or biofacies.
In the following the archetypal ichnofacies that have been established so far will be characterised.