Cassigerinella eocaenica

Classification: pf_cenozoic -> Guembelitrioidea -> Cassigerinellidae -> Cassigerinella -> Cassigerinella eocaenica
Sister taxa: C. chipolensis, C. eocaenica, C. sp.


Citation: Cassigerinella eocaenica Cordey 1968
Rank: Species
Basionym: Cassigerinella eocaenica
Taxonomic discussion:

The genus Cassigerinella was originally thought to be restricted to the Oligocene and early Miocene and the first appearance of C. chipolensis was proposed as a marker for the basal Oligocene (Blow and Banner, 1962). However Saito and Bé (1963) observed specimens of Cassigerinella in the Eocene. This was confirmed by Cordey (1968), but he distinguished them at the species level as C. eocaenica based on the slightly smaller size and less inflated chambers, flatter enrollment (which he described, erroneously in our view, as planispiral in the early ontogenetic stages) and less rounded periphery. Subsequently it became typical for workers to refer Oligocene specimens to chipolensis and Eocene specimens to eocaenica (see discussion above under chipolensis). However, as discussed by Huber and others (2006:486-487), compressed forms of Cassigerinella that are similar to eocaenica also occur in the Oligocene. In some cases these have been documented under the name Cassigerinella winniana but Huber and others (2006) showed that the holotype of winniana is a benthic form referable to Cassidulina. Hence Huber and others (2006) extended the range of eocaenica up into the Oligocene. According to our observations, compressed morphotypes of Cassigerinella referable to this species are in fact quite common throughout the Oligocene and on into the Miocene. [Pearson et al. 2018]

Premoli Silva and Spezzaferri (1990) and Spezzaferri (1994) recognized Cassigerinella globulosa Egger as valid and distinct from chipolensis. According to Spezzaferri (1994) the distinguishing features of globulosa are its more flattened test, reniform chambers and rounded to slightly subacute peripheral margin. These are all characteristic of eocaenica according to Huber and others (2006) and the taxonomy presented here. As discussed above under chipolensis, Egger’s type material is lost and his illustrated specimen appears more similar to chipolensis than eocaenica. [Pearson et al. 2018]

Premoli Silva and Spezzaferri (1990) and Spezzaferri (1994) also recognized the species Cassigerinella martinezpicoi (Bermúdez and Seiglie). According to Spezzaferri (1994:64) this differs from other Cassigerinella by its “strongly reniform to subtriangular chambers, more curved sutures, an almost subacute peripheral margin and a very flattened test (more flattened than C. globulosa)”. The specimens illustrated by Premoli Silva and Spezzaferri (1990) and Spezzaferri (1994) from tropical Indian Ocean sites show these features very clearly and here we illustrate three more specimens from ODP Hole 706A (Mascarene Plateau, Indian Ocean) (Plate 18.2, Figs. 4-12). Nevertheless these specimens do not approach the extremely flat and peripherally acute morphology of the type series of Riveroinella martinezpicoi. The holotype of the latter (which is from a relatively high stratigraphic level in what is now termed the Praeorbulina glomerosa Subzone, M5b, in upper part of the lower Miocene) is illustrated here for the first time in SEM for comparison (Plate 18.2, Figs. 13-15). We note that this specimen and the five paratypes originally illustrated by Bermúdez and Seiglie (1967) all possess a peculiar slit-like aperture surrounded by a protruding, flange-like lip and strongly acute profile which are features not seen in the other species under consideration. Specimens of nearly identical morphology to the type series were described and illustrated by Saito and Biscaye (1977) from a similar Miocene level in JOIDES Hole 3, Blake Plateau, in the western North Atlantic Ocean. From this we conclude that martinezpicoi is a distinct form that is so far known only from Subzone M5b of the subtropical North Atlantic Ocean and Caribbean. We have searched for specimens of this species in several samples lent to us by W.A. Berggren from very close to the level of Saito and Biscaye’s specimens in JOIDES Hole 3. Although Cassigerinella is quite common in this material (both C. chipolensis and C. eocaenica being present), no specimens comparable to martinezpicoi were found. Hence it seems that the latter must have a patchy occurrence in that core. [Pearson et al. 2018]

Bermúdez and Seiglie (1967) used martinezpicoi to typify their genus Riveroinella. Saito and Biscaye (1977) regarded it as a compressed Cassigerinella, and so subsumed Riveroinella in Cassigerinella. Although the forms appear to be related, Loeblich and Tappan (1988) upheld the generic distinction on the basis of the peculiar morphological features, including apertural features, in martinezpicoi. We follow Loeblich and Tappan (1988) and suggest that Riveroinella was descended from Cassigerinella some time in the lower Miocene. The peculiar compressed morphology, patchy occurrence and restricted geographic distribution (as so far determined; see Li, 1986:62) could indicate that Riveroinella had a secondarily benthic habit, although that has yet to be tested using stable isotopes. [Pearson et al. 2018]

Catalog entries: Cassigerinella eocaenica

Type images:

Distinguishing features: Test small, flattened, petaloid in outline. Chambers in an enrolled-biserial arrangement with successive chambers facing one another; axis of enrollment fairly constant through ontogeny; chambers compressed, sometimes reniform. Aperture interiomarginal, asymmetrical, highly arched to virguline in shape, with an irregular lip.

NB These concise distinguishing features statements are used in the tables of daughter-taxa to act as quick summaries of the differences between e.g. species of one genus.
They are being edited as the site is developed and comments on them are especially welcome.


Wall type: Microperforate with pore diameters ranging from 0.5-1.0 µm; surface smooth (chipolensis-subtype wall; see Chapter 15, this volume; note that the internal structure has yet to be confirmed for this species). [Pearson et al. 2018]

Morphology: Test small, flattened, petaloid in outline, periphery rounded to subacute. Chambers from the earliest stages formed in an attenuated enrolled-biserial arrangement with successive chambers facing one another; axis of enrollment fairly constant through ontogeny; chambers 6-8 per enrollment, compressed and sometimes reniform. Sutures straight to moderately curved, depressed. Aperture interiomarginal, asymmetrical, highly arched to virguline in shape, surrounded by an irregular lip with laterally asymmetrical flanges. [Pearson et al. 2018]

Size: Small, mostly <150 µm. [Pearson et al. 2018]

Character matrix

test outline:Ovatechamber arrangement:Biserialedge view:Inequally biconvexaperture:Extraumbilical
sp chamber shape:Inflatedcoiling axis:N/Aperiphery:N/Aaperture border:N/A
umb chbr shape:Inflatedumbilicus:periph margin shape:Broadly roundedaccessory apertures:None
spiral sutures:Moderately depressedumb depth:wall texture:Smoothshell porosity:Finely Perforate: 1-2.5µm
umbilical or test sutures:Moderately depressedfinal-whorl chambers:5.0-6.0 N.B. These characters are used for advanced search. N/A - not applicable

Biogeography and Palaeobiology

Geographic distribution: Global, except in high latitudes. [Pearson et al. 2018]

Isotope paleobiology: No data available. [Pearson et al. 2018]

Phylogenetic relations:

The origin of this species, the first of its Superfamily, is unknown. The most likely possibility is that it evolved from a benthic foraminifer in the genus Cassidulina, with which it shares the enrolled-biserial coiling mode. The species gave rise to Cassigerinella chipolensis in the earliest Oligocene and may also have been ancestral to Riveroinella martinezpicoi in the early Miocene. [Pearson et al. 2018]

Most likely ancestor: benthic ancestor - at confidence level 3 (out of 5). Data source: Pearson et al. 2018.
Likely descendants: Cassigerinella chipolensis;

Biostratigraphic distribution

Geological Range:
Notes: The lowest reported occurrences are in upper Eocene Zone E14 (Sexton and others, 2006). It ranges into the Miocene. We have observed it as high as Subzone M5b in the Atlantic Ocean but have not investigated its extinction level in detail as part of this project.[Pearson et al. 2018]
Last occurrence (top): within O4 zone (28.09-29.18Ma, top in Rupelian stage). Data source: Huber et al. 2006
First occurrence (base): within E13 zone (37.99-39.97Ma, base in Bartonian stage). Data source: Huber et al. 2006

Plot of occurrence data:

Primary source for this page: Pearson et al. 2018 - Olig Atlas chap.18 p.487; Huber et al. 2006 - Eocene Atlas, chap. 16, p. 486


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Cassigerinella eocaenica compiled by the pforams@mikrotax project team viewed: 25-1-2021

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