Nannotax3 - ntax_cenozoic - Ceratolithaceae Nannotax3 - ntax_cenozoic - Ceratolithaceae


Classification: ntax_cenozoic -> Nannolith families inc sed -> Ceratolithaceae
Sister taxa: Ceratolithaceae, Lapideacassaceae, Lithostromationaceae, Nannolith genera inc sed, Rhomboasteraceae

Daughter taxa (time control age-window is: 0-800Ma)Granddaughter taxa
Ceratoliths non-birefringent or only weakly birefringent
Amaurolithus brevigracilis
Amaurolithus delicatus
Amaurolithus primus
Amaurolithus tricorniculatus
Amaurolithus sp.

Ceratoliths strongly birefringent
Ceratolithus cristatus
Ceratolithus vidalii
Ceratolithus apiculus
Ceratolithus armatus
Ceratolithus atlanticus
Ceratolithus larrymayeri
Ceratolithus separatus
Ceratolithus sp.

Ceratoliths non-birefringent or only weakly birefringent; left arm straight and with nodes
Nicklithus amplificus

Elongate nannoliths formed of three blades, with c-axis perpendicular to length. Usually curved and asymmetric. Shows low to moderate birefringence.
Orthorhabdus serratus
Orthorhabdus rugosus
Orthorhabdus striatus
Orthorhabdus rioi
Orthorhabdus finifer
Orthorhabdus extensus
Orthorhabdus sp.

Elongate, tri-radiate nannoliths formed of a single calcite crystal with the c-axis parallel to the length of the nannolith. Nannolith straight with bilateral or trilateral symmetry. Shows high birefringence.
Triquetrorhabdulus carinatus
Triquetrorhabdulus challengeri
Triquetrorhabdulus longus
Triquetrorhabdulus milowii
Triquetrorhabdulus sp.


Citation: Ceratolithaceae Norris, 1965 emend Young & Bown 2014
taxonomic rank: Family
Synonyms: Triquetrorhabdulaceae Lipps 1969 - cf Young & Bown 2014
Taxonomic discussion: The scope of the family was broadened by Young & Bown to include the genera Triquetrorhabdulus and Orthorhabdus which had previously been placed inter own genus but which have been shown to be directly related (Theodoridis 1984, Raffi et all. 1998).

Distinguishing features:
Parent taxon (Nannolith families inc sed): Haptophytes forming calcareous structures not obviously homologous with heterococcoliths, holococcoliths, or discoasteralids
This taxon: Horseshoe-shaped rod-shaped nannoliths and simple hoop-coccoliths formed in one phase of life cycle, planolith heterococcoliths in the other.

Farinacci & Howe catalog pages: Ceratolithaceae [no catalog entry yet]


Family characterised by ornate nannoliths formed from a single calcite crystal unit, these maybe horseshoe-shaped, termed ceratoliths or rod-shapedand formed from three laths. The genera differ in nannolith shape and crystallographic orientations.

Biology & life-cycles

Classic observations of Norris (1965, 1971) showed that typically a single ceratolith was wrapped around the cell and that beyond the ceratolith a large coccosphere of hoop-shaped coccoliths sometimes occurs. These large coccospheres can contain up to four cells each with ceratoliths.
More recently, Alcober & Jordan (1997) observed C. cristatus hoop-shaped coccoliths inside coccospheres of ""Neosphaera coccolithomorpha"" planoliths, suggesting that ceratoliths, planoliths and hoop coccoliths may form during alternate phases of a complex life-cycle. These observations have been strongly confirmed by Young et al. (1998), Cros et al. (2000) and Sprengel & Young (2000). The “Neosphaera” planoliths show typical heterococcolith features, hence a likely hypothesis is that the ceratolith stage is equivalent to the holococcolith stage in other taxa, and so haploid (see also discussion in Young et al. 2005). Molecular genetic data and culture observations not yet available.

Phylogenetic relations
See Raffi et al. (1999) for description of key evolutionary relationships within this family

Search data:
Lith size: 4->50µm;
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 ranges of the species in this database
First occurrence (base): within NP24 zone (26.84-29.62Ma, base in Rupelian stage). Data source: Total of ranges of species in this database

Plot of occurrence data:


Alcober, J. & Jordan, R. W. (1997). An interesting association between Neosphaera coccolithomorpha and Ceratolithus cristatus (Haptophyta). European Journal of Phycology. 32: 91-93. gs

Cros, L., Kleijne, A., Zeltner, A., Billard, C. & Young, J. R. (2000b). New examples of holococcolith-heterococcolith combination coccospheres and their implications for coccolithophorid biology. In, Young, J. R., Thierstein, H. R. & Winter, A. (eds) Nannoplankton ecology and palaeocology, Proceedings of the INA7 conference, Puerto Rico, February 1998. Marine Micropaleontology . 39(1-4): 1-34. gs

Lipps, J. H. (1969). Triquetrorhabdulus and similar calcareous nannoplankton. Journal of Paleontology. 43(4): 1029-1032. gs

Norris, R. E. (1965). Living cells of Ceratolithus cristatus (Coccolithophorineae). Archiv für Protistenkunde. 108: 19-21. gs

Norris, R. E. (1971). Extant calcareous nannoplankton from the Indian Ocean. In, Farinacci, A. (ed.) Proceedings of the Second Planktonic Conference Roma 1970. E. J. Brill, Leiden 899-910. gs

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

Sprengel, C. & Young, J. R. (2000). First direct documentation of associations of Ceratolithus cristatus ceratoliths, hoop-coccoliths and Neosphaera coccolithomorpha planoliths. In, Young, J. R., Thierstein, H. R. & Winter, A. (eds) Nannoplankton ecology and palaeocology, Proceedings of the INA7 conference, Puerto Rico, February 1998. Marine Micropaleontology . 39(1-4): 39-41. gs

Theodoridis, S. (1984). Calcareous nannofossil biostratigraphy of the Miocene and revision of the helicoliths and discoasters. Utrecht Micropaleontological Bulletin. 32: 1-271. gs O

Young, J. R. & Bown, P. R. (2014). Some emendments to calcareous nannoplankton taxonomy. Journal of Nannoplankton Research. 33(1): 39-46. gs

Young, J. R., Jordan, R. W. & Cros, L. (1998). Notes on nannoplankton systematics and life-cycles - Ceratolithus cristatus, Neosphaera coccolithomorpha and Umbilicosphaera sibogae. Journal of Nannoplankton Research. 20(2): 89-99. gs

Young, J. R., Geisen, M. & Probert, I. (2005). A review of selected aspects of coccolithophore biology with implications for palaeobiodiversity estimation. Micropaleontology. 51(4): 267-288. gs


Ceratolithaceae compiled by Jeremy R. Young, Paul R. Bown, Jacqueline A. Lees viewed: 11-12-2023

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