Syracosphaera pulchra

Ancestry: Coccolithophores -> Syracosphaerales -> Syracosphaeraceae -> Syracosphaera -> SY pulchra gp -> pulchra type -> Syracosphaera pulchra
Sister taxa: S. histrica, S. pulchra,

Short diagnosis: BCs without spines, large; XCs dome-shaped with central depression


Citation: Syracosphaera pulchra Lohmann, 1902
Rank: Species
Synonyms: Syracosphaera decussata Hay & Beaudry 1973 [my interpretation - JRY 2016]

Farinacci & Howe catalog pages: Syracosphaera decussata * Syracosphaera pulchra *

Short diagnosis: BCs without spines, large; XCs dome-shaped with central depression

Morphology remarks:
BCs - large (4.5-8 µm); mid-wall flange prominent; inner wall-cycle well developed; central area with three concentric cycles of thin radial laths, occasionally incipient spine in centre.
CFCs - similar to BCs but with robust bifurcate-tipped spine.
XCs - dome-shaped, rim sub-horizontal, flange-like. Radial cycle forms vertical part of wall, numerous elements with wide slits. Central part formed of several cycles of laths; with a central conical depression.

Size: Coccospheres 15-25 µm.

Ecology & Biogeography: A common species, with weak preference for oligotrophic areas (Ziveri et al. 2004)

Biology & life-cycles: There is a well-established alternate holococcolith-bearing phase. Holococcoliths previously referred to as = Calyptrosphaera oblonga and Calyptrosphaera pirus, see Cros et al. (2000), Geisen et al. (2002), Saugestad & Heimdal (2002). Since the oblonga-type and pirus-type holococcoliths are well differentiated we suspect that S. pulchra consists of two species which are only differentiable in the holococcolithophore life-cycle stage (Geisen et al. 2002, 2004).

Search data:
TagsLITHS: murolith, elliptical, RIM: flange-distal, flange-midwall, outer wall non-imbricate, flange-proximal, ridges, rim-narrow, CA: grill,
CSPH: obpyriform, ovoid, CFC, CFC+process, XC, XC-domal, polymorphic, V-UNITS: lower-rim, R-UNITS: rim, T-UNITS: c-str, DETAILS: ca_disjunct, rim-bicyclic,
MetricsLith size: 4->8µm; Coccosphere size: 15->25µm; Liths per sphere: 20->60
Sources: lith size (BCs) from Baumann (2004); csph data from Cros & Fortuño 2003; lith numbers from Yang & Wei 2003, range of estimates
The morphological data given here can be used on the advanced search page. See also these notes

See also: Syracosphaera pulchra HOL oblonga type ;Syracosphaera pulchra HOL pirus type ;;

Geological Range:
Notes: BCs commonly recorded from Pliocene and Pleistocene sediments, reasonably reliable default identification for large (>5µm) Syracosphaera coccoliths.
Last occurrence (top): Extant Data source: present in the plankton (Young et al. 2003)
First occurrence (base): within Pliocene Epoch (2.59-5.33Ma, base in Zanclean stage). Data source: [JRY rough estimate]

Plot of occurrence data:


Hay, W.W. & Beaudry, F.M., (1973). Calcareous nannofossils - Leg 15. Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, 15: 625-684.

Lohmann, H., (1902). Die Coccolithophoridae, eine Monographie der Coccolithen bildenden Flagellaten, zugleich ein Beitrag zur Kenntnis des Mittelmeerauftriebs. Archiv für Protistenkunde, 1: 89-165.


Syracosphaera pulchra compiled by Jeremy R. Young, Paul R. Bown, Jacqueline A. Lees viewed: 22-10-2017

Taxon Search:
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AphiaID: 235979 Nomenclatural data on WoRMS
Go to to create a permanent copy of this page - citation notes

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