Classification: pf_cenozoic -> microperforate -> Guembelitriidae
Sister taxa: Cassigerinellidae, Chiloguembelinidae, Guembelitriidae, Heterohelicidae, Problematica,
Daughter taxa (blue => in age window 0-300Ma) Granddaughter taxa

Test tiny, low to high trochospire of 2-2½ whorls; each whorl comprised of 3-4 inflated, subglobular chambers. Wall calcareous, microperforate, with distinctly hispid surface; pustules often peripherally associated with a small pore (and vice-versa). Aperture a very small, low arch, with umbilical position. Test sometimes marked by one or more small supplementary apertures on spiral side.

Test small and triserial. Aperture bordered by a distinct lip and often slightly asymmetric. Wall structure microperforate; surface texture of well-preserved specimens characterized by presence of pore-mounds.

Original description inaccurate, especially with respect to surface texture. Test typically small, with moderate to flat trochospire consisting of 2½ whorls of globular or subglobular chambers. Chambers gradually increase in size; Vli-1 chambers in each whorl, separated by radial and depressed sutures on both spiral and umbilical sides. Umbilicus closed. Aperture umbilical to extraumbilical, ranging from comma-shaped arch to long narrow opening extending up apertural face in nearly equatorial position. Aperture bordered by a slight lip. Surface texture microperforate, pustulous or smooth; when pustulous, well-preserved parvularugoglobigerinids exhibit pore-mound surface texture characteristic of guembelitriid taxa. Pores do not end in pits; pustules not aligned.

Tests contain an initial whorl of 3 chambers, later whorls of 2 chambers each. Test wall microperforate, marked by a guembelitriid surface texture (smooth walled or bearing perforate pustules). Aperture usually asymmetrically positioned and thin apertural lip infolded on one side.


Citation: Guembelitriidae Montanaro Gallitelli, 1957
Rank: Family
Taxonomic discussion: Montanaro Gallitelli (1957) emended the family Heterohelicidae Cushman, 1927a, by creating the subfamily Guembelitriinae for the triserial genera Guembelitria Cushman, 1933, and Guembelitriella Tappan, 1940. Loeblich and Tappan (1957a) assigned Woodringina Loeblich and Tappan, 1957, to the Guembelitriinae, implicitly modifying the definition of the Guembelitriinae to include forms that are triserial in the first whorl and biserial in later whorls. El-Naggar (1971) raised the Guembelitriiidae to family status, and Blow (1979) explicitly broadened its definition to include morphotypes with biserial and trochospiral stages.
The assignment of biserial Woodringina species to the Guembelitriidae rests on the hypothesis that Woodringina species were derived from Guembelitria cretacea Cushman, 1933. This phylogenetic hypothesis is a subset of the broader hypothesis that Chiloguembelina midwayensis (Cushman, 1940), is lineally derived from Guembelitria cretacea Cushman, 1933, via Woodringina claytonensis Loeblich and Tappan, 1957 (Olsson, 1970, 1982; Premoli Silva, 1977; Li and Radford, 1991; Olsson et al., 1992; Liu and Olsson, 1992). This broader hypothesis is supported by cladistic analysis, based on shared apertural, surface textural, and juvenile characters (D'Hondt, 1991). Given the apparent phylogenetic relationship of Chiloguembelina midwayensis to Guembelitria cretacea, the Guembelitriidae constitutes a paraphyletic family because it does not include descendent species assigned to the Chiloguembelinidae. The relationship of many post-Paleocene microperforate taxa (i.e., Cassigerinella Pokorny, 1955, Corrosina Thalmann, 1956, and Gallitellia Loeblich and Tappan, 1986) to the Guembelitriidae remains largely unexplored.
Recent studies have documented morphologic intergradation and shared surface-textural and apertural characteristics between Guembelitria cretacea and members of the trochospiral genera Parvularugoglobigerina Hofker, 1978, and Globoconusa Khalilov, 1956 (D'Hondt and Keller, 1991; Liu and Olsson, 1992; Olsson et al., 1992) (Plates 63-68). These demonstrate the general validity of several recent phylogenetic hypotheses for the origin of the latter genera (Olsson, 1970, 1982; Premoli Silva, 1977; Smit, 1982; Olsson et al., 1992). On this basis, we assign both Parvularugoglobigerina and Globoconusa to the Guembelitriidae.
Among the primary morphologic characters that unite the Guembelitriidae is a close surface-textural association of pores and pustules (Liu and Olsson, 1992; Olsson et al., 1992) (Plates 63-68). Where the pores directly perforate the surface mounds (or pustules), these perforated mounds are commonly referred to as "pore-mounds." Interspecimen and intraspecimen variation in surface texture from smooth to pore-mound is exhibited by Guembelitria cretacea, Woodringina claytonensis, and Parvularugoglobigerina species (D'Hondt and Keller, 1991; Liu and Olsson, 1992; Olsson et al., 1992) (Plates 63-68). The degree of pore-mound expression within a specimen appears ontogenetically variable, with the ultimate chamber often exhibiting more weakly developed pore-mounds than immediately preceding chambers (Liu and Olsson, 1992) (Plates 63-68). Furthermore, the pustules (pore-mounds) are often asymmetrically perforate (Plate 63: Figure 6, Plate 65: Figure 6, Plate 67: Figure 14).
The phyletic relationship of Parvularugoglobigerina, Globoconusa, Woodringina, and Chiloguembelina to Guembelitria cretacea indicates that both trochospiral and biserial chamber arrangements divergently evolved within the planktonic foraminifera (Olsson, 1982; Smit, 1982; D'Hondt, 1991; Liu and Olsson, 1992). Such relationships have clearly not been accounted for by taxonomic schemes, which separate serial and trochospiral morphotypes at the superfamily level (i.e., Loeblich and Tappan, 1988). [Olsson et al. 1999]

Catalog entries: Guembelitriidae;

Type images:

Distinguishing features: Tests triserial (Guembelitria), trochospiral (Parvularugoglobigerina, Globoconusa), or nearly triserial in initial whorl becoming biserial (Woodringina). Chambers usually globular or subglobular, increasing gradually in size. Aperture usually a loop-shaped arch, often slightly infolded on one side, marked by a fine lip. Surface texture microperforate, smooth to pustulous.

NB The short diagnoses are used in the tables of daughter-taxa to act as quick summaries of the differences between e.g. species of one genus. They have initially been copied from the diagnostic characters/distinguishing features sections of the Eocene and Paleocene Atlases, they will be edited as the site is developed.


Diagnostic characters: Original description of foraminiferal tests assignable to subfamily Guembelitriinae does not apply to all members of family Guembelitriidae. Tests of guembelitriid foraminifera either triserial (Guembelitria spp.), trochospiral (Parvularugoglobigerina spp., Globoconusa spp.), or nearly triserial in initial whorl and approximately biserial in later whorls (Woodringina spp.). Chambers usually globular or subglobular, increasing gradually in size. Aperture usually a loop-shaped arch, often slightly infolded on one side, marked by a fine lip. Surface texture microperforate, smooth to pustulous; when present, pustules or small mounds generally perforated by one or more pores ("pore-mounds") (Guembelitria, Parvularugoglobigerina, Woodringina) or peripherally associated with pores (Globoconusa). [D'Hondt et al. in Olsson et al. 1999]

Biogeography and Palaeobiology

Biostratigraphic distribution

Geological Range:
Last occurrence (top): in lower part of Bartonian Stage (35% up, 40Ma, in Bartonian stage). Data source: Total of range of species in this database
First occurrence (base): in lower part of Maastrichtian Stage (36% up, 69.9Ma, in Maastrichtian stage). Data source: Total of range of species in this database

Plot of occurrence data:

Primary source for this page: Olsson et al. 1999 - Atlas of Paleocene Planktonic Foraminifera, p.77


Blow, W.H., (1979). The Cainozoic Globigerinida: A study of the morphology, taxonomy, evolutionary relationships and stratigraphical distribution of some Globigerinida (mainly Globigerinacea), 2. E. J. Brill, Leiden, 1413 pp.

Cushman, J.A., (1927). An outline of a re-classification of the Foraminifera. Contributions from the Cushman Laboratory for Foraminiferal Research, 3: 1-105.

Cushman, J.A., (1933). Some new foraminiferal genera. Contributions from the Cushman Laboratory for Foraminiferal Research, 9(2): 32-38.

Cushman, J.A., (1940). Midway foraminifera from Alabama. Contributions from the Cushman Laboratory for Foraminiferal Research, 16: 51-73.


Guembelitriidae compiled by the pforams@mikrotax project team viewed: 19-3-2018

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