Nannotax3 - ntax_cenozoic - Coccolithaceae Nannotax3 - ntax_cenozoic - Coccolithaceae


Classification: ntax_cenozoic -> Coccolithales -> Coccolithaceae
Sister taxa: Coccolithaceae, Calcidiscaceae ⟩⟨ Hymenomonadaceae, Pleurochrysidaceae

Daughter taxa (time control age-window is: 0-800Ma)Granddaughter taxa
Genera with open central area (or very delicate cross)
Eliptical or circular; central area usually open, may have with simple bar or weak axial cross
C. pelagicus group
Coccolithus floralis
C. formosus group
C. biparteoperculatus group
Coccolithus sp.

Coccoliths ring-shaped without discrete shields
Coronocyclus nitescens
Coronocyclus mesostenos
Coronocyclus baileyi
Coronocyclus lordii
Coronocyclus sp.

Coccolithus-like coccoliths that are typically circular and have broad upper tube elements that dominate the distal shield. The dominance of the R-unit cycle results in a bright LM XPL image that is distinct from Coccolithus.
Ericsonia monilis
Ericsonia subpertusa
Ericsonia media
Ericsonia orbis
Ericsonia staerkeri
Ericsonia aliquanta
Ericsonia robusta
Ericsonia sp.

Genus with bridge
Rim narrow and central area spanned by an elevated bridge
Solidopons petrae
Solidopons sp.

Genera with central cross
Coccolith central area spanned by disjunct axial cross that may be rotated by up to 20 degrees.

Eocene lineage of large to extremely large Cruciplacolithus-like coccoliths
Pletolithus gigas
Pletolithus giganteus
Pletolithus mutatus
Pletolithus staurion
Pletolithus opdykei
Pletolithus hulliae

Like Cruciplacolithus but the coccoliths are longitudinally arched and typically near parallel sided, and so appear oblong in outline
Campylosphaera dela
Campylosphaera differta
Campylosphaera eodela
Campylosphaera eroskayi
Campylosphaera sp.

Like Cruciplacolithus but coccoliths small and with large, thin, paddle-like processes.
Bramletteius cultellus
Bramletteius serraculoides
Bramletteius sp.

Placolith coccoliths with Coccolithus-type shields and tube, but with disjunct diagonal cross bars spanning the central area.
C. bidens group
C. consuetus group
Chiasmolithus sp.

Genera with central grill or plate
Central area covered by perforate plate which appears uniformly dark in xpl
Birkelundia arenosa

Rim structure like Coccolithus; perforate plate covers the central area on the distal side
Clausicoccus fenestratus
Clausicoccus norrisii
Clausicoccus subdistichus
Clausicoccus vanheckiae
Clausicoccus sp.

Placolith coccoliths showing low birefringence with central area filled by 2 to 4 plates. Lacks a clearly birefringent distal tube cycle
Hughesius gizoensis
Hughesius tasmaniae
Hughesius youngii
Hughesius sp.

Genera with simple rims and complex central areas
Placolith coccoliths with a wide central-area typically spanned by multi-element lattice-like grills or imperforate plates.
Craticullithus cancellus
Craticullithus clathrus
Craticullithus lamina
Craticullithus cassus
Craticullithus sp.

Wide central area with central cross and ring
Jeremyella levkovii

Placolith coccoliths, typically small (c. 3 microns), with central-area spanned by a finely perforate net. The distal shield is typically bicyclic and the rim structure appears to be coccolithacean.
Kilwalithus cribrum


Citation: Coccolithaceae Poche, 1913 emend. Young & Bown, 1997
taxonomic rank: Family

Distinguishing features:
Parent taxon (Coccolithales): 2N: Mostly placolith heterococcoliths with V-unit forming the distal shield; R-unit the proximal shield. Non-motile
N: Form holococcoliths formed of single block, or non-calcifying

This taxon: 2N: cells non-motile, bearing placoliths with R-unit extending from proximal shield to form upper/inner tube-cyle, mostly elliptical
N: cells motile, holococcolith-bearing

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


Heterococcoliths are placoliths with rim structure similar to Coccolithus: V-unit forms both distal shield and lower cycle of central-area; R-unit forms both proximal shield and upper cycle of central-area. The proximal shield itself is bicyclic with distinct upper and lower layers but these are both formed from the R-unit. The central-area is often spanned by disjunct structures and these are used to define various fossil genera (see e.g. Perch-Nielsen 1985, Young & Bown 1997,Young & Henriksen 2003).

Biology & life-cycles

Modern Coccolithus pelagicus has a holococcolith stage

Search data:
Lith size: 8->12µm;
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 NP1 zone (65.47-66.04Ma, base in Danian stage). Data source: Total of ranges of species in this database

Plot of occurrence data:


Perch-Nielsen, K. (1985). Cenozoic calcareous nannofossils. In, Bolli, H. M., Saunders, J. B. & Perch-Nielsen, K. (eds) Plankton Stratigraphy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 427-555. gs

Poche, F. (1913). Das System der Protozoa. Archiv für Protistenkunde. 30: 125-321. gs

Romein, A. J. T. (1979). Lineages in Early Paleogene calcareous nannoplankton. Utrecht Micropaleontological Bulletin. 22: 1-231. gs O

Young, J. R. & Bown, P. R. (1997). Cenozoic calcareous nannoplankton classification. Journal of Nannoplankton Research. 19(1): 36-47. gs

Young, J. R. & Henriksen, K. (2003). Biomineralization within vesicles: the calcite of coccoliths. Reviews in Mineralogy and Geochemistry. 54(1): 189-215. gs


Coccolithaceae compiled by Jeremy R. Young, Paul R. Bown, Jacqueline A. Lees viewed: 23-5-2024

Taxon Search:
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