Nannotax3 - ntax_cenozoic - Scyphosphaera Nannotax3 - ntax_cenozoic - Scyphosphaera


Classification: ntax_cenozoic -> Zygodiscales -> Pontosphaeraceae -> Scyphosphaera
Sister taxa: Pontosphaera, Scyphosphaera

Daughter taxa (time control age-window is: 0-800Ma)Granddaughter taxa
Extant species
Scyphosphaera apsteinii
Simple convex outward profile, or somewhat constricted at base.
Scyphosphaera apsteinii forma dilatata

Scyphosphaera porosa
Lopadoliths - large gently-flaring or parallel sided; R-unit only extends to about one third height of lopadolith

Neogene species - without flaring collar
Scyphosphaera brevis
Squat low Scyphosphaera with curved walls and wide opening, no collar

Scyphosphaera globulata
Almost spherical, with narrow opening.

Scyphosphaera hamptonii
Small cylindrical Scyphosphaera with narrow circular base

Scyphosphaera hemirana
Cylindrical Scyphosphaera with fluted sides

Scyphosphaera lagena
Moderately elevated (3-5x as high as wide) with maximum width near base.

Neogene species - with flaring collar
Scyphosphaera campanula
Squat, parallel sided, wide opening, almost square in profile, usually with weak flaring collar

Scyphosphaera intermedia
Moderately elevated (3-5x as high as wide) with maximum width near base and flaring collar

Scyphosphaera pulcherrima
Opening wide and with well developed collar.

Scyphosphaera tubifera
Strongly elevated (>5x as high as wide) with maximum width near base, rare.

Scyphosphaera ventriosa
Similar to S. apsteinii but with low collar around opening.

Eocene - elongate & parallel sided
Scyphosphaera columella
Tall (up to 26 µm) narrow murolith with near-straight walls that are parallel or very slightly flaring, to a maximum width at the distal end.

Scyphosphaera expansa
Tall (up to 31 µm) relatively broad murolith with flaring walls.

Scyphosphaera interstincta
Elongate barrel-shaped, with distinct wall ornament of large pits or pores.

Scyphosphaera olla
Scyphospaera with broad concavo-convex base which contracts into narrow tube-like distal part

Scyphosphaera tercisensis
Tall, relatively broad murolith that narrows towards the distal opening.

Scyphosphaera tubicena
Tube-like Scyphosphaera with broadened base

Scyphosphaera sp.
Specimens which cannot be assigned to established species


Citation: Scyphosphaera Lohmann, 1902
taxonomic rank: Genus
Type species: Scyphosphaera apsteini Lohmann, 1902
Taxonomic discussion: In fossil assemblages, only lopadoliths are assigned to Scyphosphaera. Numerous Neogene species have been described, often based on subtle variations in outline, but since the single modern species S. apsteinii shows considerable variation in lopadolith outline a broader species concept seems justified. There is, however, far more variation in Scyphosphaera morphology in the Late Miocene and Pliocene than in the Quaternary and at the present day. Three main late Neogene species are certainly separable; S. apsteinii, S. pulcherimma and S. globulata. The table gives the main Neogene morphotypes and for each of them possible synonyms are listed on the species page, following Young (1998). This arguably represents a useful compromise between the extremes of lumping to three species or splitting to 30 or more. See also Jafar (1975), Perch-Nielsen (1985), Aubry (1990) and Siesser (1998).

Distinguishing features:
Parent taxon (Pontosphaeraceae): Monomorphic or dimorphic; liths muroliths with perforate central area
This taxon: Coccospheres with Pontosphaera-like body coccoliths and equatorial coccoliths with rims elevated into vase-like structures (lopadoliths).

Farinacci & Howe catalog pages: Scyphosphaera + * , Thorosphaera * , Argyrosphaera *


Whereas Neogene species include many forms with curving walls those from the Paleogene are mostly cylindrical, with broader bases in a couple of species (S. olla, S. tubicena). Aubry & Bord (2009) also suggest that Paleogene species differ from Neogene species in the following ways (1) they have flatter bases (2)  they have thicker walls; (3) "Change in focus in light microscopy reveals a stack pattern in the margin" in Paleogene spcies (this is not explained further). 
Some typical Neogene species, especially S. apsteinii are, however, recorded from the Palaeogene.

The walls of the equatorial coccoliths are typcally formed of an inner layer of R-units and an outer layer of V-units (Young 2008). Despite their large size the equatorial coccoliths form intracellularly, as documented in detail by Dreschler et al. (2012).

Search data:
LITHS: murolith, elliptical, cylindrical, hollow, CA: plate, pores,
CSPH: equant, BC-dimorphic, CROSS-POLARS: rim-bicyclic, V-prominent, R-prominent,
Lith size: 5->25µm;
Data source notes: lith size is height of lopadoliths
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 Early Eocene Sub-Epoch (47.84-55.96Ma, base in Ypresian stage). Data source: Total of ranges of species in this database

Plot of occurrence data:


Aubry, M. -P. & Bord, D. (2009). Reshuffling the cards in the photic zone at the Eocene/Oligocene boundary. In, Koeberl, C. & Montanari, A. (eds) The Late Eocene Earth—Hothouse, Icehouse, and Impacts. Geological Society of America, Special Papers . 452: 279-301. gs

Aubry, M. -P. (1990). Handbook of Cenozoic calcareous nannoplankton. Book 4: Heliolithae (Helicoliths, Cribriliths, Lopadoliths and others). Micropaleontology Press, American Museum of Natural History, New York. 1-381. gs

Drescher, B., Dillaman, R. M. & Taylor, A. R (2012). Coccolithogenesis in Scyphosphaera apsteinii (Prymnesiophyceae). Journal of Phycology. 48: 1343-1361. gs

Jafar, S. A. (1975). Calcareous nannoplankton from the Miocene of Rotti, Indonesia. Verhandelingen der Koninklijke Nederlandse Akademie van Wetenschappen. 28: 1-99. gs O

Lohmann, H. (1902). Die Coccolithophoridae, eine Monographie der Coccolithen bildenden Flagellaten, zugleich ein Beitrag zur Kenntnis des Mittelmeerauftriebs. Archiv für Protistenkunde. 1: 89-165. gs O

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

Siesser, W. G. (1998). Calcareous nannofossil Genus Scyphosphaera: structure, taxonomy, biostratigraphy, and phylogeny. Micropaleontology. 44(4): 351-384. gs

Young, J. R. (2008). Scyphosphaera porosa Kamptner 1967 rediscovered in the plankton. Journal of Nannoplankton Research. 30(1): 35-38. gs


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

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