Syracosphaera mediterranea HOL hellenica type

Classification: ntax_cenozoic -> Holococcoliths -> flat-topped -> S. mediterranea HOL type -> Syracosphaera mediterranea HOL hellenica type
Sister taxa: C. multipora, S. histrica HOL, S. mediterranea HOL gracillima type, S. mediterranea HOL hellenica type, S. mediterranea HOL wettsteinii type


Citation: Syracosphaera mediterranea Lohmann 1902 HOL hellenica type, sensu Cros et al., 2000
Rank: Species
Basionym: Zygosphaera hellenica Kamptner 1937

Distinguishing features: BCs with concentric structure and central boss; tube wall with hexagonal crystallite fabric, a row of perforations above base and a variable number of extra perforations.
CFCs with boss elevated into spine-like structure with three buttresses

Farinacci & Howe catalog pages: Z. hellenica *

Morphology: Variation - on the distal surface the concentric ring structure may be clear or obscure; some specimens have two pores.
The concentric structure is similar to that of other holococcoliths traditionally included in Zygosphaera, notably including Syracosphaera bannockii holococcoliths, formerly called Z. bannockii. Possibly this indicates that Coronosphaera and S. bannockii are closely related but more likely the structure has evolved more than once.

Size: Liths ca. 2 µm long.

Biology & life-cycles: “Z. hellenica” coccoliths have been observed in culture to be formed by the alternate phase of a Syracosphaera mediterranea strain (Geisen et al. 2002; Houdan et al. 2004) and this has been further confirmed by field observation of combination coccospheres (Karatsolis et al. 2014, Triantaphyllou et al. 2016)

See also: Syracosphaera mediterranea ;

Search data:
TagsLITHS: holococcolith, elliptical, hollow, CA: closed,
CSPH: equant, elongated, CFC, CROSS-POLARS: V-prominent, R-prominent,
MetricsLith size: 1.6->2.5µm; Coccosphere size: 8->11µm; Liths per sphere: 88->140
Data source notes: morphom data from Cros & Fortuño (2002) & Kleijne 1991
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: present in the plankton (Young et al. 2003)
First occurrence (base): within Quaternary Period (0.00-2.59Ma, base in Gelasian stage). Data source:

Plot of occurrence data:


Cros, L. & Fortuño, J. -M. (2002). Atlas of northwestern Mediterranean coccolithophores. Scientia Marina. 66: 1-186. gs V O

Geisen, M., Billard, C., Broerse, A. T. C., Cros, L., Probert, I. & Young, J. R. (2002a). Life-cycle associations involving pairs of holococcolithophorid species: intraspecific variation or cryptic speciation? European Journal of Phycology. 37: 531-550. gs V O

Heimdal, B. R. & Gaarder, K. R. (1980). Coccolithophorids from the northern part of the eastern central Atlantic I. Holococcolithophorids. “Meteor” Forschungsergebnisse, Reihe D, Biologie. 32: 1-14. gs

Houdan, A. et al. (2004a). Flow cytometric analysis of relative ploidy levels in holococcolithophore-heterococcolithophore (Haptophyta) life cycles. Systematics and Biodiversity. 1(4): 453-465. gs

Kamptner, E. (1937b). Neue und bemerkenswerte Coccolithineen aus dem Mittelmeer. Archiv für Protistenkunde. 89: 279-316. gs

Karatsolis, B., Dimiza, M. D. & Triantaphyllou, M. V. (2014). Verification of the Coronosphaera mediterranea – “Zygosphaera hellenica” life-cycle association. Journal of Nannoplankton Research. 34(special): 45-46. gs V O

Okada, H. & McIntyre, A. (1977). Modern coccolithophores of the Pacific and North Atlantic Oceans. Micropaleontology. 23(1): 1-55. gs

Reid, F. M. H. (1980). Coccolithophorids of the North Pacific Central Gyre with notes on their vertical and seasonal distribution. Micropaleontology. 26(2): 151-176. gs

Skejic, S. et al. (2018). Coccolithophore diversity in open waters of the middle Adriatic Sea in pre- T and post-winter periods. Marine Micropaleontology. 143(1): 30-45. gs

Triantaphyllou, M. et al. (2016). Coccolithophore combination coccospheres from the NE Mediterranean Sea: new evidence and taxonomic revisions. Micropaleontology. 61(6): 457-472. gs

Young, J. R., Geisen, M., Cros, L., Kleijne, A., Probert, I. & Ostergaard, J. B. (2003). A guide to extant coccolithophore taxonomy. Journal of Nannoplankton Research, Special Issue. 1: 1-132. gs V O


Syracosphaera mediterranea HOL hellenica type compiled by Jeremy R. Young, Paul R. Bown, Jacqueline A. Lees viewed: 16-4-2021

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Comments (2)

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Maria Triantaphyllou (Greece)
actually it is published in 2015
Jeremy Young (UCL, UK)
OK I have updated the reference list. The publication date I have left as 2016 as the website gives the date for this issue as February 2016. Do you know if it was printed in 2015? Then again if there is no new taxonomy the exact date is not very important and it may be easiest to use the cover-date (which is 2015).
Maria Triantaphyllou (Greece)
The correct reference for the new combination coccospheres is:

TRIANTAPHYLLOU, M.V, KARATSOLIS, B., DIMIZA, M.D., MALINVERNO, E., CERINO, F., PSARRA, S., JORDAN, R.W., YOUNG, J.R., 20156. Coccolithophore combination coccospheres from the NE Mediterranean Sea: new evidence and taxonomic revisions. Micropaleontology, 61(6): 457-472.
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