The dimensional statistics and proximal development characters of the Llanvirnian pendent didymograptid
D. murchisoniare defined using the type material from near Builth Wells (Powys) and other collections from Abereiddi Bay (Dyfed). Population variability (as expressed by variation coefficients) in the undeformed faunas amounts to about 10% for the sicula lengths and thecal spacings, but is over 20% (up to 200%) for stipe lengths and divergences. Characters with low variability have greater species-diagnostic value. Proximal development in the species involves a dicalycal th 11 and a low origin for that theca from the sicula. The taxa Didymograptus amplus, D. nanus, D. geminus, D. geminus latusand D. acutusare varieties within populations of D. murchisoniand are therefore junior synonyms.
The resulting rationalised taxonomy allows advances to be made in the use of the species in stratigraphy and tectonics. For example, an occurrence of undeformed (pyritised)
D. murchisoniin full relief at Abereiddi in the same beds as flattened and deformed faunas, allows a calculation of the absolute three-dimensional strains to be made for the slates there. The strains are strongly flattening (K < 0 · 3) and involve volume changes of about −56%. The high dilatation values imply that stylolite and grain-boundary pressure solution operated during the deformations to take the changes in volume beyond what is possible with simple compaction (i.e. porosity reduction).