Trilobites Gigantes de Canelas


In the black rocks of Canelas village more than fifteen different species of trilobites can be found, associated to graptolites, brachiopods, cephalopods, among others. The trilobites, whose designation results from their body being segmented lengthwise into three lobes also have a clear cross-division into three parts hinged together. These curious animals, distant relatives of today’s crustaceans, were the main representatives of arthropods in Paleozoic seas (between 540 and 250 million years ago) and, at its peak, had thousands of species. The fact that thoracic segments are hinged to allow them to curl in as a response to sudden changes in the environment or, possibly, when sensed some danger, as happens today with the woodlouse. In Canelas, the large trilobite in the world was found, which makes this collection unique on a global scale.

Natural Patrimony

Near Valério’s quarry, extensive eucalyptus and pine plantations cover the slopes. At the rocky outcrops, the angel’s tears and the wallbrown butterfly make their home. At the pinewoods, strawberry trees develop well attesting the thermal influence of the Paiva valley. The iberian emerald lizard and the iberian frog are present in the Paiva tributaries, as the common buzzard and the peregrine falcon patrol the skies in search for prey.

Geological heritage

The Geological Interpretation Centre of Canelas-Arouca (CIGC-Arouca) is a Site Museum, known in Portugal and around the world for its giant trilobites, considered the largest specimens known worldwide. These fossils are exhibited in the museum, and the collection is constantly growing by collecting and cataloging done in Canelas quarry. With about 465 million years, this collection provides a trip to ancient seas through the trilobite fossils that lurk into the Ordovician slates.


Technical information

  • Level of Dificulty Low
  • Type of Route Linear
  • Access Car/Pedestrian