Classification: Coccolithophores -> Nannolith families inc sed -> Ceratolithaceae -> Ceratolithus
Sister taxa: Amaurolithus, Ceratolithus, Nicklithus, Orthorhabdus, Triquetrorhabdulus,

Distinguishing features: Ceratoliths strongly birefringent

Daughter taxa (blue => in age window 0-300Ma) Granddaughter taxa
Left arm extends into apical spur producing a triangular apical area. Right arm longer than left

complex ceratoliths with spines extending from arch

ceratoliths horsehoe-shaped

Delicate ceratolith with thin arms and apical spine; featureless surface.

Specimens which cannot be assigned to established species


Citation: Ceratolithus Kamptner, 1950
Rank: Genus
Type species: Ceratolithus cristatus Kamptner, 1950
Synonyms: Heterococcolith stage - Neosphaera Lecal-Schlauder 1950; Craspedolithus Kamptner 1963

Farinacci & Howe catalog pages: Ceratolithus * Craspedolithus * Neosphaera *

Distinguishing features: Ceratoliths strongly birefringent

Morphology remarks: Ceratoliths strongly birefringent, c-axis lies in plane of horseshoe, perpendicular to length. THe upper surface of ceratoliths is more ornate than the lower surface, in LM this can be used to tell which way up the specimen is, this is necessary in order to distinguish left and right arms. It is worthwhile since within species the two arms show consistent differences.

Biology & life-cycles: The extant species C. cristatus also produces hoop-shaped coccoliths and "Neosphaera" planoliths. See species description for details.

Search data:
TagsLITHS: nannolith-other, horseshoe-shaped, V-UNITS: none, R-UNITS: all, DETAILS: 1ou, length-slow,
MetricsLith size: 0->0µm; Segments: 1->1;
The morphological data given here can be used on the advanced search page. See also these notes

Geological Range:
Last occurrence (top): Extant Data source: Total of range of species in this database
First occurrence (base): within Tortonian Stage (7.25-11.62Ma, base in Tortonian stage). Data source: Total of range of species in this database

Plot of occurrence data:


Kamptner, E., (1950). Über den submikroskopischen Aufbau der Coccolithen. Anzeiger. Österreichische Akademie der Wissenschaften. Mathematische-Naturwissenschafliche Klasse. Wien, 87: 152-158.

Kamptner, E., (1963). Coccolithineen-Skelettreste aus Tiefseeablagerungen des Pazifischen Ozeans. Annalen des Naturhistorischen Museums in Wien, 66: 139-204.

Lecal-Schlauder, J., (1950). Notes preliminaires sur les Coccolithophorides d'Afrique du Nord. Bulletin de la Société d'Histoire Naturelle de l'Afrique du Nord, 40: 160-167.

Raffi, I.; Backman, J. & Rio, D., (1998). Evolutionary trends of tropical calcareous nannofossils in the late Neogene. Marine Micropaleontology, 35(1): 17-41.


Ceratolithus compiled by Jeremy R. Young, Paul R. Bown, Jacqueline A. Lees viewed: 22-3-2018

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Comments (1)

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Has a type species been defined for Ceratolithus?
Jeremy Young (UK)

Tes - C. cristatus, and I have added that now

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