Classification: ntax_non_cocco -> Dinophytes -> Thoracosphaeraceae
Sister taxa: Organic-walled dinoflagellates, Silicifying dinoflagellates, Thoracosphaeraceae

Distinguishing features: Calcareous dinoflagellates

Daughter taxa (time control age-window is: 0-800Ma)Granddaughter taxa
Tangential wall
Wall formed of crystals with tangential c-axes (Thoracosphara s.l.)

Radial wall
Wall formed of crystals with radial c-axes (Orthopithonella s.l.)

Oblique wall
Wall formed of crystals with oblique c-axes (Obliquipithonella s.l.)

Possible Thoracosphaeraceae
These taxa are generally accepted in the calcisphere literature, even if their affinities are not sure

Discrete Mesozoic group with regularly oblique c-axes

Calcispheres inc sedis
Described taxa included in the Farinacci catalog but not included elsewhere (mostly poorly documented taxa)

unidentified calcispheres


Citation: Thoracosphaeraceae Schiller 1930, emend. Tangen, in Tangen et al. 1982
Rank: Family
Type species: Thoracosphaera
Taxonomic discussion: Recent research (Gottschling et al. 2012, Gottschling & Soehner 2013) has indicated that all the extant calcfiyng dinoflagellates belong to a single clade, irrespective of whether they calcify in the vegatetive phae or only to form resting cysts and irrespctive of wall structure. Palaeontologocial studies suggest that most fossil caclispheres are directly related to the modern taxa so the current consensus is that all calcispheres should be included in he faimly Thoracosphaeraceae. 
As in the haptophytes, it appears likely that calcfication evolved only once in the group. Calcification has however been lost several times since various non-calcifiying dinophytes occur in the Thoracosphaeraceae, these forms are not included here.

Catalog entries: Thoracosphaeraceae [no catalog entry yet]

Distinguishing features: Calcareous dinoflagellates

See also: Mesozoic non–coccoliths - a few Mesozoic calcispheres with unusual structure are included in the Mesozoc module.;

Geological Range:
Last occurrence (top): Extant Data source: Total of range of species in this database
First occurrence (base): within Carnian Stage (228.35-237.00Ma, base in Carnian stage). Data source: Total of range of species in this database


Gottschling, M. & Soehner, S. (2013). An updated list of generic names in the Thoracosphaeraceae. Microorganisms. 1(1): 122-136. gs

Gottschling, M. et al. (2012). Delimitation of the Thoracosphaeraceae (Dinophyceae), including the calcareous dinoflagellates, based on large amounts of ribosomal RNA sequence data. Protist. 163: 15-24. gs

Schiller, J. (1930). Coccolithineae. In, Rabenhorst, L. (ed.) Kryptogamen-Flora von Deutschland, Österreich und der Schweiz. Akademische Verlagsgesellschaft, Leipzig 89-267. gs

Tangen, K., Brand, L. E., Blackwelder, P. L. & Guillard, R. R. L. (1982). Thoracosphaera heimii (Lohmann) Kamptner is a dinophtye: Obsevations on its morphology and life cycle. Marine Micropaleontology. 7: 193-212. gs


Thoracosphaeraceae compiled by Jeremy R. Young viewed: 28-7-2021

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