Classification: ntax_cenozoic -> Coccolithales -> Coccolithaceae -> Cruciplacolithus
Sister taxa: Coccolithus, Bramletteius, Campylosphaera, Chiasmolithus, Coronocyclus, Cruciplacolithus, Ericsonia, Solidopons ⟩⟨ Birkelundia, Clausicoccus, Craticullithus, Hughesius, Kilwalithus

Daughter taxa (time control age-window is: 0-800Ma)
Modern and Neogene species
Cruciplacolithus neohelis
Small modern species, very similar to C. primus
Cruciplacolithus kanungoi
Small Cruciplacolithus species with non-birefringent (sub)axial cross and wide central area
Eocene-Oligocene species
Cruciplacolithus cruciformis
Large (6-10 µm) Cruiplacolithus with narrow shields, wide central area and narrow cross bars that can be axial or rotated.
Cruciplacolithus flavius
Small (3.5 µm) Oligocene species with delicate axial cross.
Cruciplacolithus klausii
Medium to large sized (~6-10µm), elliptical placolith coccoliths with a low birefringence rim and narrow central area almost filled by broad low birefringence axial cross bars. The brigher tube cycle may be indistinct.
Cruciplacolithus nishii
Small to medium sized Cruciplacolithus with narrow shields and wide central area spanned by narrow axial crossbars bearing a spine.
Cruciplacolithus tarquinius
Medium sized Eocene-Oligocene Cruciplacolithus with delicate axial cross
Paleocene species - with rotated cross
Cruciplacolithus asymmetricus
Moderate to large Cruciplacolithus with slightly rotated (<20 degrees) cross-bars.
Cruciplacolithus edwardsii
Moderate to large Cruciplacolithus with strongly rotated (>20 degrees) cross-bars.
Cruciplacolithus frequens
Moderate to large Cruciplacolithus with slightly rotated (<20 degrees) cross bars that have disjunct, birefringent blocks (‘feet') where they meet the rim.
Paleocene species - with axial cross
Cruciplacolithus intermedius
Moderate to large (>7 µm) Cruciplacolithus with axially aligned cross bars without feet
Cruciplacolithus primus
Small to moderately sized (<7 µm) Cruciplacolithus with axial cross-bars.
Cruciplacolithus subrotundus
Circular to subcircular Cruciplacolithus with narrow central area and broad cross-bars.
Cruciplacolithus tenuis
Medium size to large (>7 µm) Cruciplacolithus with axial cross-bars that have disjunct, birefringent blocks (‘feet') where they meet the rim.
Paleocene species - with distinctive central structure
Cruciplacolithus filigranus
Cruciplacolithus with narrow cross bars and a delicate net.
Cruciplacolithus inseadus
Small to moderate Cruciplacolithus with narrow axial cross bars and additional bars that run parallel to the inner edge of the central area.
Cruciplacolithus latipons
Small to moderate Cruciplacolithus with a narrow central area almost filled by broad axial cross bars that typically show median extinction lines in XPL.
Cruciplacolithus sp.
Specimens which cannot be assigned to established species


Citation: Cruciplacolithus Hay & Mohler in Hay et al., 1967
Rank: Genus
Type species: Heliorthus tenuis Stradner, 1961
Variants: These three genera are based on delicate central area structures that are not routinely preserved and cannot be observed in light microscopy. Such structures are rarely preserved, poorly documented and difficult to use in practical taxonomy. They may prove to provide valuable phylogentic data but at the present state of knowledge we prefer to retain Cruciplacolithus in its conventional sense.
Taxonomic discussion: Cruciplacolithus is not usually recorded from the Neogene but in well-preserved samples Cocolithus specimens with central crosses are quite frequent. Also small Cruciplacolithus specimens can occasionally be found, as illustrated here from the Pliocene.
The classification of Paleogene Coccolithaceae coccoliths is problematical because of the presence of central area cross-bars across generic groupings (in particular Cruciplacolithus, Coccolithus and Chiasmolithus) that are supposedly characterized by the presence or absence of such bars or particular orientations of bars. Cruciplacolithus is typically defined as having a wide central area spanned by disjunct cross bars that are axially orientated or rotated by up to 20 degrees. Chiasmolithus tends to be used where the cross bars are diagonal.

Distinguishing features: Coccolith central area spanned by disjunct axial cross that may be rotated by up to 20 degrees.

Farinacci & Howe catalog pages: Cruciplacolithus * , Cruciolithus * , Cruciplectus * , Stauronertha * , Catostaura *

See also: C. gigas group - Coccolithus species with axial cross;

Search data:
TagsLITHS: placolith, elliptical, CA: cross-axial, ca_disjunct,
CSPH: equant, monomorphic, CROSS-POLARS: rim-bicyclic, V-prominent, R-prominent,
MetricsLith size: 3->14µm;
The morphological data given here can be used on the advanced search page. See also these notes

Geological Range:
Notes: Cruciplacolithus is not usually recorded in the post-Paleocene fossil record but they are present in well-preserved Eocene samples, and Bramletteius is a closely related Eocene-Oligocene taxon. Thibault et al. (2018) provide a detailed study of the succesion of speciesin the Daian.
Last occurrence (top): Extant Data source: Total of range of species in this database
First occurrence (base): at base of Danian Stage (0% up, 66Ma, in Danian stage). Data source: Total of range of species in this database

Plot of occurrence data:


Hay, W. W., Mohler, H. P., Roth, P. H., Schmidt, R. R. & Boudreaux, J. E. (1967). Calcareous nannoplankton zonation of the Cenozoic of the Gulf Coast and Caribbean-Antillean area, and transoceanic correlation. Transactions of the Gulf-Coast Association of Geological Societies. 17: 428-480. gs V O

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

Thibault, N., Minoletti, F. & Gardin, S. (2018). Offsets in the early Danian recovery phase in carbon isotopes: Evidence from the biometrics and phylogeny of the Cruciplacolithus lineage. Revue de Micropaléontologie. 61(2): 207-221. gs


Cruciplacolithus compiled by Jeremy R. Young, Paul R. Bown, Jacqueline A. Lees viewed: 27-2-2021

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