Nannotax3 - ntax_cenozoic - Sphenolithus grandis

Sphenolithus grandis

Classification: ntax_cenozoic -> Discoasterales -> Sphenolithaceae -> Sphenolithus -> S. moriformis group -> Sphenolithus grandis
Sister taxa: S. abies, S. apoxis, S. moriformis ⟩⟨ S. grandis, S. puniceus, S. acervus ⟩⟨ S. primus


Citation: Sphenolithus grandis Haq and Berggren, 1978
Rank: species
Taxonomic discussion: This a poorly characterised species and Bergen et al. (2017) noted that it did not seem to have a conisistent stratigraphic range - unlike S. puniceus which is a distinctive component of Early Miocene assemblages. Some illustrated specimens, notably the largest specimens closely resemble ascidian spicules (e.g. Haq and Berggren, 1978 pl.3 figs 19-20, Bergen et al 2017 pl1 figs 25-27). Other illustrated specimens are unambiguous side views of sphenoliths these range in age from NN6 to NN8. [JRY my interpretation 2018]

Distinguishing features:
Parent taxon (S. moriformis group): Conical and hemispherical sphenoliths without prominent apical spines.
This taxon: Large (>10 µm) beehive shaped sphenoliths (Mid-Late Miocene)

Farinacci & Howe catalog pages: S. grandis *



Most likely ancestor: Sphenolithus moriformis - at confidence level 3 (out of 5). Data source: Howe 2021, fig. 8.

Search data:
LITHS: nannolith-radiate, circular, cylindrical, CROSS-POLARS: R-prominent,
Lith size: 0->0µm;
The morphological data given here can be used on the advanced search page. See also these notes

Geological Range:
Last occurrence (top): within NN8 zone (10.55-10.89Ma, top in Tortonian stage). Data source: approx range of unambiguous illustrated specimens
First occurrence (base): within NN6 zone (11.90-13.53Ma, base in Serravallian stage). Data source: approx range of unambiguous illustrated specimens

Plot of occurrence data:


Bergen, J. A., de Kaenel, E., Blair, S. A., Boesiger, T. M. & Browning, E. (2017). Oligocene-Pliocene taxonomy and stratigraphy of the genus Sphenolithus in the circum North Atlantic Basin: Gulf of Mexico and ODP Leg 154. Journal of Nannoplankton Research. 37(2-3): 77-112. gs O

Haq, B. U. & Berggren, W. A. (1978). Late Neogene calcareous plankton biochronology of the Rio Grande Rise (South Atlantic Ocean). Journal of Paleontology. 52: 1167-1194. gs


Sphenolithus grandis compiled by Jeremy R. Young, Paul R. Bown, Jacqueline A. Lees viewed: 30-9-2022

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

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