Nannotax3 - ntax_cenozoic - Pontosphaeraceae Nannotax3 - ntax_cenozoic - Pontosphaeraceae


Classification: ntax_cenozoic -> Zygodiscales -> Pontosphaeraceae
Sister taxa: Helicosphaeraceae, Pontosphaeraceae, Zygodiscaceae

Daughter taxa (time control age-window is: 0-800Ma)Granddaughter taxa
Coccoliths are muroliths, central area with variable number of perforations. V-units form narrow imbricate outer wall, R-units form inner wall and central-area.

Coccospheres with Pontosphaera-like body coccoliths and equatorial coccoliths with rims elevated into vase-like structures (lopadoliths).


Citation: Pontosphaeraceae Lemmermann, 1908
taxonomic rank: Family

Distinguishing features:
Parent taxon (Zygodiscales): 2N: Heterococcoliths with V-units forming upper/outer cycle of imbricated elements and R-units forming basal plate and central mass of irregular elements. Usually motile
N: Form holococcoliths formed of single block

This taxon: Monomorphic or dimorphic; liths muroliths with perforate central area

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


Coccospheres sub-spherical, without flagellar opening (although flagellae have occasionally been observed). Monomorphic (Pontosphaera) or dimorphic with strongly-modified equatorial coccoliths (Scyphosphaera). Coccoliths are muroliths, central area with variable number of perforations. V-units form narrow outer rim-cycle with anti-clockwise imbrication. R-units form inner rim, with weak clockwise imbrication, baseplate and blanket.

Biology & life-cycles

Two extant species are known to have holococcolith -bearing life cycle phases, Frada et al. (2009)

Search data:
Lith size: 5->25┬Ám;
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 NP5 zone (59.54-61.51Ma, base in Selandian stage). Data source: Total of ranges of species in this database

Plot of occurrence data:


Frada, M., Percopo, I., Young, J. R., Zingone, A., de Vargas, C. & Probert, I. (2009). First observations of heterococcolithophore-holococcolithophore life cycle combinations in the family Pontosphaeraceae (Calcihaptophycideae, Haptophyta). Marine Micropaleontology. 71(1): 20-27. gs

Lemmermann, E. (1908). Flagellatae, Chlorophyceae, Coccosphaerales und Silicoflagellatae. In, Brandt, K. & Apstein, C. (eds) Nordisches Plankton. Botanischer Teil. Lipsius & Tischer, Kiel & Leipzig 1-40. gs


Pontosphaeraceae compiled by Jeremy R. Young, Paul R. Bown, Jacqueline A. Lees viewed: 24-7-2024

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

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