Nannotax3 - ntax_cenozoic - Papposphaera obpyramidalis Nannotax3 - ntax_cenozoic - Papposphaera obpyramidalis

Papposphaera obpyramidalis

Classification: ntax_cenozoic -> Coccolith families inc sed -> Papposphaeraceae -> Papposphaera -> Papposphaera obpyramidalis
Sister taxa: P. lepida, P. obpyramidalis, P. vexillata ⟩⟨ P. sp. type 1, P. sp. type 4, P. sp. type 5, P. sp. type 6, P. sp. type 2 ⟩⟨ P. sagittifera, P. sarion, P. arctica, P. iugifera, P. heldalii ⟩⟨ P. thomsenii, P. bourrellii, P. sp. type 3, P. sp. cf. type 3, P. sp. type 3 ⟩⟨ P. simplicissima ⟩⟨ P. sp.


Citation: Papposphaera obpyramidalis Thomsen in Thomsen et al., 1988
taxonomic rank: Species

Distinguishing features:
Parent taxon (Papposphaera): Coccolith distal rim serrated - elements pentagonal;
Coccosphere varimorphic, or dimorphic. All coccoliths have spines but CFCs typically have longer spines and larger calices.

This taxon: Central areas with axial cross;
Process 1.5-2.5 µm high, low stem supports fan-shaped calyx of four large elements with rounded distal edges.

Farinacci & Howe catalog pages: P. obpyramidalis *


Coccoliths are varimorphic - calyx size varies with the largest calices at the flagellar pole ( Thomsen et al. 2016).  Calices were thought to be conical shaped but Thomsen et al. (2016) showed that even on undisturbed coccospheres (seen in LM) they are flattened and, so fan-shaped.
Thomsen et al. (2016) also show that small underlayer scales occur, which is unusual in Papposphaera and Pappomonas, although common in Wigwamma, Turrisphaera, Trigonaspis and Quaternariella.

Cell spherical, ca. 5 µm. Coccoliths, ca. 1.5 µm long;

Ecology & Biogeography

Described from Weddell Sea and most records are from Antarctic but also observed in the Arctic (Thomsen et al. 2016). Cell lacks chloroplasts (like other Arctic Papposphaeraceae) and has prominent haptonema so presumably is heterotrophic.

Search data:
LITHS: murolith, elliptical, CA: cross-axial, ca_disjunct, process,
CSPH: equant, CFC, monomorphic,
Lith size: 1.3->1.5µm;
Data source notes: lith size (BC diameter) from OD
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: present in the plankton (Young et al. 2003)
First occurrence (base): within No known fossil record modern (0.00-0.00Ma, base in "Holocene" stage). Data source: [JRY rough estimate]

Plot of occurrence data:


Findlay, C. S. & Giraudeau, J. (2000). Extant calcareous nannoplankton in the Australian sector of the Southern Ocean (austral summers 1994 and 1995). Marine Micropaleontology. 40(4): 417-439. gs

Thomsen, H. A., Buck, K. R., Coale, S. L., Garrison, D. L. & Gowing, M. M. (1988). Nanoplanktonic coccolithophorids (Prymnesiophyceae, Haptophyceae) from the Weddell Sea, Antarctica. Nordic Journal of Botany. 8: 419-436. gs

Thomsen, H. A., Egge, J. K. & Heldal, M. (2016). Papposphaera obpyramidalis (Haptophyta, Papposphaeraceae): New findings from both Polar Regions. Revue de Micropaléontologie. 59: 267-273. gs

Young, J. R., Geisen, M., Cros, L., Kleijne, A., Probert, I. & Ostergaard, J. B. (2003). A guide to extant coccolithophore taxonomy. Journal of Nannoplankton Research. S1: 1-132. gs


Papposphaera obpyramidalis compiled by Jeremy R. Young, Paul R. Bown, Jacqueline A. Lees viewed: 22-2-2024

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Short stable page link: Go to to create a permanent copy of this page - citation notes

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