Nannotax3 - ntax_cenozoic - Gladiolithus


Classification: ntax_cenozoic -> Coccolith families inc sed -> Coccolith genera inc sed -> Gladiolithus
Sister taxa: Aliculosphaera, Biantholithus, Camuralithus, Centumgemina, Craterolithus, Ellipsolithus, Gladiolithus, Ilselithina, Leesella, Luminocanthus, Pedinocyclus, Petasus

Daughter taxa (time control age-window is: 0-800Ma)
Extant species
Gladiolithus flabellatus
Tube coccoliths elongate (5-10 µm), smooth or pitted
Gladiolithus striatus
Tube-coccoliths short (3.5-5 µm) and with striations
Gladiolithus adeyi
A species of Gladiolithus with long narrow tube-coccoliths tapering continuously from the base to the tip. Lepidoliths are formed of a single calcite plate with a narrow rim.
Paleogene species
Gladiolithus brevis
Tube-coccoliths short (length:width ratio 2.0–4.0), unornamented; with blunt distal terminations.
Gladiolithus contus
Tube-coccoliths elongate, narrow tubes that appear to taper at both ends; edges of the elements serrated
Gladiolithus ornatus
Tube-coccoliths short (length:width ratio c. 3.6) with a zone of oblique external striate ornament at the base.
Gladiolithus sp.
Specimens which cannot be assigned to established species


Citation: Gladiolithus Jordan & Chamberlain, 1992
Rank: Genus
Type species: Thorosphaera flabellata Halldal & Markali 1955
Synonyms: Thorosphaera Ostenfeld 1910 - not strictly a synonym but most literature references to Thorosphaera actually refer to Gladiolithus

Distinguishing features:
Parent taxon (Coccolith genera inc sed): Heterococcolith genera which cannot be assigned to any family
This taxon: Dimorphic - BCs tube-like; AACs simple plates, typically formed of two elements.

Farinacci & Howe catalog pages: Gladiolithus, Gladiolithus


Dimorphic deep photic zone coccolithophores. Nannolith types:
A. Tube coccoliths -tubular structures with basal disk supporting a long hexagonal-section spine; in LM isolated spine fragments resemble elongate Florisphaera profunda coccoliths.
B. Lepidoliths - simple elliptical plates, typically formed of two elements.
Coccospheres are bowl-shaped, with lepidoliths forming the base and the tube coccoliths the rim of the bowl, which is occupied by a single chloroplast-bearing cell.

Tube -lengt varies greatly within the genus (from 2 to 25 µm) but seems to be rather constant within species, so is a useful diagnostic character.

Search data:
LITHS: murolith, nannolith-other, elliptical, cylindrical, hollow, CA: ca_disjunct, plate,
CSPH: equant, AAC, CROSS-POLARS: V-prominent,
Lith size: 2->25µm; Coccosphere size: 7->15µm;
The morphological data given here can be used on the advanced search page. See also these notes

Geological Range:
Notes: There have been few records of fossil G. flabellatus in the literature, but it has recently been shown to be abundant in Eocene sediments from Tanzania (Bown et al. 2009). It can also be found in well-preserved Neogene sediments as illustrated by the specimens shown here.
Last occurrence (top): Extant. Data source: Total of range of species in this database
First occurrence (base): at base of Selandian Stage (4% up, 61.5Ma, in Selandian stage). Data source: Total of range of species in this database

Plot of occurrence data:


Bown, P. R., Young, J. R., Dunkley Jones, T. & Randell, R. (2009). A Paleogene record of extant lower photic zone calcareous nannoplankton. Palaeontology. 52(2): 457-469. gs

Jordan, R. W. & Chamberlain, A. H. L. (1992). Vexillarius cancellifer gen. et sp. nov., and its possible affinities with other living coccolithophorids. In, Hamrsmid, B. & Young, J. R. (eds) Nannoplankton Research, Proceedings of the 4th INA Conference, Prague 1991, vol II. Knihovnicka ZPN. 14b: 305-325. gs V O


Gladiolithus compiled by Jeremy R. Young, Paul R. Bown, Jacqueline A. Lees viewed: 27-9-2022

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

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