CATALOG OF ORIGINAL DESCRIPTIONS: Prosphaeroidinella parkerae Ujiie 1976

This page provides data from the catalog of type descriptions. The catalog is sorted alphabetically. Use the current identification link to go back to the main database.

Higher levels: pf_cat -> P -> Prosphaeroidinella -> Prosphaeroidinella parkerae
Other pages this level: P. parkerae, P. valleriae,

Prosphaeroidinella parkerae

Citation: Prosphaeroidinella parkerae Ujiie 1976
Rank: species
Type locality: Holotype and paratypes from a depth of 390 cm. in core V 21-98 (in the collections of Lamont-Doherty Geological Observatory of Columbia University), recovered in waters 2134 meters deep at lat. 23°06' N., long. 134°26' E., on top of a submarine ridge in the northern Philippine Sea. Also found in sediments of the Sagara Group (lowest occurrence falls in this group) on the Pacific coast of central Japan and of the Shimajiri Group (highest occurrence falls in this group) of Miyako-jima, Ryukyu Islands.
Type age: Pliocene, Zone N. 19; very common. Ranges from the lower part of Zone N. 15 (upper Middle Miocene) to the lowermost part of Zone N. 22 (lowermost Pleistocene).
Holotype Repository: Tokyo; National Science Museum of Tokyo, Tokyo, Japan:
Type & figured specimens: pl. 3, fig. 4; pl. 4, figs. 1, 2, 4; pl. 5, figs. 1-4; pl. 12, fig. 5; pl. 13, fig. 1.; pl. 5, figs. 1, 2, holotype,: holotype (pl. 4, figs. 1, 2; pl. 5, figs. 1, 2), no. 1057; and four paratypes, nos. 1058 (pl. 4, fig. 4), 1059 (pl. 3, fig. 4), 1060 (pl. 5, figs. 3, 4), 1071 (pl. 12, fig. 5; pl. 13, fig. 1).

Current identification/main database link:

Original Description
"Test free, low trochospiral; periphery equatorially lobulate to a considerable extent, transversely rounded; wall calcareous, thick, coarsely perforate with very coarsely and regularly pitted honey-comb structure, each frame of which measures 0.03 mm. in diameter even for the latest chambers of juvenile specimens; chambers globular, 2 per whorl in young to 5 in full grown adult, increasing in size rather rapidly at three-chambered stage but slowly afterward so that the final chamber becomes often smaller than the penultimate one; sutures on umbilical side radial, deeply cut; sutures on spiral side radial to slightly curved, depressed or, in some places of final whorl, deeply cut in connection with fissured spiral suture, but never opened to leave supplementary aperture; umbilicus narrowly but deeply opened at a junction of deeply cleft sutures; aperture interiomarginal, umbilical, sometimes with small lip in adult. Diameter, up to 0.7 mm.; thickness, up to 0.4 mm.

Extra details from original publication
Remarks. This new species differs from the type species of Prosphaeroidinella, in showing less degree of masking the honey-comb wall structure at the earlier stage by secondary thickening of wall and in suggesting certainly different genetical origin. While Prosphaeroidinella disjuncta (Finlay) [Sphaeroidinella disjuncta, 1940] represents very probably a direct ancestor of Sphaeroidinellopsis as mentioned already, P. parkerae Ujiie has its occurrence range considerably concurrent with those of Sphaeroidinellopsis and Sphaeroidinella. Aside from the morphologic affinity, the two species are considered congeneric for the reason that P. parkerae Ujiie is inferred to represent an atavism of Sphaeroidinellopsis.
Before extending the above inference, we must review first such a peculiar wall structure of Sphaeroidinella as mentioned by Rhumbler (1911, Plankton-Expect. Humboldt-Stiftung, Ergeb., Bd. 3, L.c., Teil 1, pp. 1-331) in the early days of foraminiferal investigation. After Rhumbler noticed the flask-shaped pores piercing through the thick wall of Sphaeroidinella dehiscens, many authors (e. g. , Bé, 1965, Micropaleontology, val. 11 , no. 1, pp. 81-97, pls. 1-2; Bé and van Dank, 1971, Science, val. 173, no. 3992, pp. 167-168; Hofker, 1972, Rev. Espanola Micropal., val. 4 , no. 2, pp. 119-140) have illustrated the same features in thin sections but without paying any special attention. Giving critical significance to the wall structure in the taxonomy of Sphaeroidinella and Sphaeroidinellopsis Banner and Blow (1959, Palaeontology, val. 2, pt. 1, pp. 1-27) and Blow (1969, in: Brbnnimann and Renz (Eds.), Proceedings of the first international conference on planktonic microfossils. Leiden, Netherlands: E. J. Brill, val. 1, pp. 199-421) nevertheless misjudged the structure as being composed of homogeneously thickened main layer which is rather superficially coated with thin veneer of 'cortex layer'. Such a veneer of 'cortex' could never mask completely the very coarsely pitted surface of underlying layer and its formation should be found only at the final stage of ontogenetic growth of shells, conflicting with the fact that even very young specimens are already provided with smoothly finished surface of shells.
On the other hand, Hofker (1972, op. cit.) distinguished correctly three layered structure in wall of Sphaeroidinella and Sphaeroidinellopsis; namely, thin basal layer (his 'lamella 1') probably originated from embryonic apparatus, coarsely pitted middle layer ('lamella 2'), and outer layer with smooth surface ('lamella 3'). But I prefer to use the terms Layers 1, 2, and 3 for these lamellae, since a lamella in bilamellar Foraminifera means a sheet of shell substance piling upon the previous wall surface as a new chamber is added. Whereas the nature and genesis of Layers 1 and 2 are almost the same as in Globigerinoides except for distinctly coarser honey-comb structure in the former, Layer 3 is quite unique in Sphaeroidinella and Sphaeroidinellopsis; that is, a real cortex layer. As could be inferred from many thin sections (for example, pl. 13, figs. 2 and 3 ; pl. 14, figs. 1 and 2 of this paper; Be and van Dank, 1971, op. cit. ; Be, 1965, op. cit. ) and particularly from some electron micrographs of mechanically dissected specimens (pl. 7, figs. 2 and 3; pl. 8, figs. 1 and 2; pl. 10, figs. 1 to 3), crystal growth of calcites constituting Layer 3 would commence from ridges of honey-comb structure of Layer 2 and progress always in directing its rhombohedral or euhedral pyramid inward and its flat basal plane outward as a new chamber is added. Therefore, the outer surface of Layer 3 would be paved with flat basal planes of calcite crystals. Mosaic pattern on the surface closely resembles that on the inner surface of wall, where pavement with basal planes of calcite crystals must be expected as to constitute the base of Layer 1 (compare pl. 8, fig. 4 with pl. 9, fig. 4 as an example). All crystals composing Layer 2 may also grow up from their flat basal planes, whose mosaic aggregation may be also analogous to that on the inner surface of Layer 1, in developing their rhombohedral to euhedral pyramid planes outwards. If such a contrasting mode of crystal growth between Layers 2 and 3 were just as interpreted here, it would be a logical consequence that the pores sealed by the two layers become flask-shaped. Moreover, the growth mode of Layer 3 (real 'cortex layer') should inevitably result in diminution of pore-diameter (see tf. 1 of the Catalogue sheet Prosphaeroidinella Ujiie, 1976).
Since the boundary between Layers 2 and 3 is a junction of outwardly and inwardly pointed pyramids of crystals, the boundary is most susceptible to chemical dissolution and mechanical damage. For instance, pl. 8, figs. 1 and 2 suggest such a selective dissolution around the boundary, while pl. 8, fig. 3 and pl. 7, figs. 2 and 3 show that Layer 2 was peeled off, because of mechanical action that took place at the boundary, probably caused by the ultrasonic vibrator in the course of maceration of sediment samples containing specimens. It is especially noteworthy that the honey-comb structure of Layer 2 exposed in such a way is very coarsely pitted just like in Prosphaeroidinella parkerae Ujiie.
Previously Parker (1967, Bull. Amer. Pal., vol. 52, no. 235, pp. 160, 161) found this similarity and then she concluded that the specimens shown in her pl. 23, figs. 3 and 5 under the name of Sphaeroidinella seminulina represent merely peeled-out specimens of the species, probably due to selective dissolution worked on the outer cortex layer; she thought the cortex layer to be most susceptible. Contrary to her presumption, however, Sphaeroidinella dehiscens with typical cortex layer is one of the most resistant taxa against the chemical dissolution among 15 to 22 species of Recent planktonic Foraminifera according to Berger's (1968, Deep-Sea Res., vol. 15, no. 1, pp. 31-43; 1970, Marine Geol., vol. 8, no. 2, pp. 111-138) experiment and observation. Besides, every Globigerinoides species with coarsely pitted wall is most susceptible to the dissolution so that Layer 2 of Sphaeroidinella or Sphaerodinellopsis with much coarser pits must be dissolved much easier than Layer 3.
Instead of chemical reaction, some mechanical exfoliation might be expected for these cases. But it may be impossible that such a process peels away Layer 3 over its whole surface of a specimen. In addition to this logic, I have found a number of specimens including juveniles from various places in the western North Pacific region; i.e., from a piston core in the Philippine Sea (Ujiie and Miura, 1971, in: Farinacci (Ed.), Proceedings of the second planktonic conference. Rome: Edizioni Tecnoscienza, vol. 2, pp. 1231-1249), from Miyako-jima of the Ryukyu Islands (Ujiie and Oki, 1974, Tokyo, Nat. Sci. Mus., Mem., no. 7, pp. 31-52), from the Sagara Group in central Japan (Ujiie and Hariu, 197 5, Tokyo, Nat. Sci. Mus., Bull., ser. C (Geol. Pal.), vol. 1, no. 2, pp. 37-54), under the name of 'Naked Sphaeroidinella or Sphaeroidinellopsis' species, and from DSDP Sites 292 and 296 (Ujiie, 1975, in: Karig, D. E., Ingle, J. C., Jr., et al., Initial reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project, Volume XXXI. Washington, D. C.: U. S. Govt. Printing Office, pp. 677-691 ). The universality of occurrence may deny that P. parkerae Ujiie resulted from Sphaeroidinella or Sphaeroidinellopsis through some accidental peeling of its Layer 3.
From the comparative analysis of wall structures shown heretofore, I would like to conclude that P. parkerae Ujiie is independent from any species belonging to Sphaeroidinellopsis or Sphaeroidinella, probably having undergone atavism, particularly of Sphaeroidinellopsis seminulina (s.l.J. In other words, the new species failed to develop Layer 3 (cortex layer). In the respect of evolutionary trend, P. parkerae Ujiie must belong to Prosphaeroidinella.
Although Todd (1964, U.S. Geol. Survey, Prof. Paper, no. 260-CC, p. 1 089) mentioned first the presence of the species, she unfortunately regarded it as Sphaeroidinella disjuncta Finlay, 1940. Her illustrated specimens from deep-sea cores off Eniwetok Atoll are completely conspecific to the new species. Todd (op. cit.) also referred several specimens of other authors to her 'S. disjuncta'; they are S. disjuncta from New Zealand (Finlay, 1940, Roy. Soc. New Zealand, Trans. Proc., vol. 69, pt. I, p. 469; Hornibrook, 1958, Micropaleontology, vol. 4, no. 1, p. 34) and from some North Atlantic deep-sea cores (Phleger, Parker, and Peirson, 1953, Swedish Deep-Sea Expect. 1947-1948, Repts., vol. 7, no. I, pp. 3-122), Sphaeroidinella rutschi from the Donni Formation of Saipan (Todd, 1957, U. S. Geol. Survey, Prof. Paper, no. 280-H, pp. 265-320), Globigerina sp. B from Eniwetok Atoll (Todd and Low, 1960, U. S. Geol. Survey, Prof. Paper, no. 260-X, pp. 799-861), and Sphaeroidinella multilobata from Sylvania Guyot (Hamilton and Rex, 1959, U. S. Geol. Survey, Prof. Paper, no. 260-W, pp. 785-798). Excluding the New Zealand specimens from consideration these referred taxa may be not disjuncta but parkerae, according to their morphology illustrated in plates and their stratigraphic occurrence distinctly younger than that of disjuncta. Different from Todd's (1964, op. cit.) opinion, I estimate the age as Pliocene rather than Miocene for the North Atlantic specimens from Core 234 since they are associated with Sphaeroidinella dehiscens, Globorotalia (s.s.) multicamerata, Candeina nitida, etc., for the specimens from the Donni Formation of Saipan which was lately assigned to N. 19 to N. 17 by Blow (1969, op. cit.), and also for the Sylvania Guyot samples mixed with Globigerinoides fistulosus.
As well as considered by many authors (e. g. , Todd, 1964, op. cit.; Parker, 1967, op. cit.; Jenkins, 1971 , New Zealand, Geol. Survey, Pal. Bull., no. 42, pp. 1-278), I am inclined to doubt the validity of Sphaeroidinellopsis as a genus independent from Sphaeroidinella, because juvenile or young specimen of Sphaeroidina dehiscens Parker and Jones, 1865 (type species of Sphaeroidinella) is often devoid of supplementary apertures on spiral side just like Sphaeroidinellopsis subdehiscens (s.s.), type species of the genus. The other morphologic characters than the supplementary aperture are essentially the same between the two type species. Nevertheless, Sphaeroidinellopsis subdehiscens (s.s.) has not been associated with any typical Sphaeroidinella as pointed out by Blow (1969, op. cit), for a considerably long period prior to the appearance of the latter genus; in other words, during the period from the beginning of N. 13 to the end of N. 18. In order to emphasize this biostratigraphic significance, therefore, the genus Sphaeroidinellopsis might be used for convenience sake, although the biological meaning of such taxonomic procedure may be open to discussion.
Prosphaeroidinella parkerae
Ujiie has been recognized generally in part lower than N. 21 of Upper Pliocene, where Sphaeroidinellopsis seminulina (s.l.) almost disappears together with P. parkerae Ujiie, so that this new species might reflect a kind of atavism of S. seminulina (s.l.), for the additional reason that the two species resemble each other in the general morphology (e.g. , number of chambers per whorl, shell-outline, etc.). Although Ujiie and Oki (1974, Tokyo, Nat. Sci. Mus., Mem., no. 7, pp. 39, 44) once noticed the scarce but continuous occurrence of P parkerae Ujiie up to the lowermost Pleistocene (lower N. 22 of Blow's zones) in Miyako-jima, Ryukyu Islands, by the name of 'Naked Sphaeroidinellopsis' species, there was also an exceptional? occurrence of S. seminulina (s.l.) extending up to lower N. 22 (see pl. I, fig. 12 of Ujiie and Oki, 1974, op. cit.).
"Since 1965, Be has contended than Sphaeroidinella dehiscens may be merely a phenotypic variation of Globigerinoides sacculifer which reflects some adaptation to changing water depth of habitat in the course of individual growth. Be and his collaborators (Be, 1965, op. cit. ; Be and Hemleben, 1970, Neues Jahrb. Geol. Pal., Abh., vol. 134, no. 3, pp. 221-234; Be and van Donk, 1971 , Science, vol. 173, no. 3992, pp. 167, 168) presumed that the outer 'cortex' layer (Layer 3 of this paper) of wall characteristic in Sphaeroidinella may be a result of incrustation over Globigerinoides-type shells as their habitat becomes deeper with the ontogenetic growth of shell as observed well in many other planktonic foraminiferal taxa.
"However, such incrustation never produces the peculiar wall structure of Layer 3 in Sphaeroidinella, but would cause disorderly thickening of wall as exemplified by Orr (1969, Micropaleontology, vol. 15, no. 3, pp. 373-379) with Globigerinoides ruber. As evidence in favor of their argument, Be and Hemleben ( 1970, op. cit.) showed many beautiful scanning electron micrographs of 'specimens which they considered as showing gradational change from Globigerinoides sacculifer to Sphaeroidinella dehiscens '. Despite of their words, their 'intermediate or transitional specimens' illustrated in plates 27 and 32 seem to be only the heavily encrusted G. sacculifer. Between these and the specimens at their 'medium and late dehiscens stages', which are real S. dehiscens, there ought to be a clear break if we notice the smoothly finished surface at the interpore space in the latter specimens (particularly see, pl. 28, figs. 2 and 3; pl. 29, fig. 2; pl. 30, figs. 2, 4 and 5); these smooth faces are never seen in pis. 27 and 32.
Secondly, Layer 3 of Sphaeroidinella is developed enough in specimens smaller than ordinary sized individuals of Globigerinoides. This fact evidently conflicts with the opinion of Be and his collaborators who regarded 'Sphaeroidinella-stage' as to be added to 'Globigerinoides-stage' in the course of ontogenesis. And it seems that Layer 3 in Sphaeroidinellopsis and particularly Sphaeroidinella increases its thickness by piling one lamella upon another as a new chamber is added (see pls. 13 and 14, respectively), while Layer 2 seemingly ceases its thickening at a much earlier stage.
Thirdly, any sutural supplementary opening has not been found on the reticulate surface of Layer 2 in Sphaeroidinella, unlike the test surface of Globigerinoides but like that of Prosphaeroidinella. Moreover, the mesh-size of the reticulate wall is distinctly coarser (usually about twice) than that in Globigerinoides sacculifer.
Finally, as suggested or pointed out by the other authors somewhere else, Be's argument should have taken more account of biostratigraphic ranges of Sphaeroidinella species and related taxa, although he is a most distinguished researcher of living or Recent planktonic Foraminifera. Prior to the appearance of Sphaeroidinella and Sphaeroidinellopsis, a number of Globigerinoides species alone lived for a long period of geologic time without producing 'Sphaeroidinella stage', even though some of the species might have had potential to do so, like 'Recent G. sacculifer.'


Ujiie, H. (1976). Prosphaeroidinella, n. gen.: Probable ancestral taxon of Sphaeroidinellopsis (Foraminifera),. Bulletin of the National Science Museum, Series C (Geology). 2(1): 9-26. gs :: ::


Prosphaeroidinella parkerae compiled by the pforams@mikrotax project team viewed: 6-7-2020

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