pforams@mikrotax - Catapsydrax pforams@mikrotax - Catapsydrax


Classification: pf_cenozoic -> Globigerinidae -> Catapsydrax
Sister taxa: Beella, Globigerina, Globigerinella, Protentella, Quiltyella ⟩⟨ Ciperoella, Globigerinoides, Globigerinoidesella, Globoturborotalita, Orbulina, Praeorbulina, Sphaeroidinella, Sphaeroidinellopsis, Trilobatus, Turborotalita ⟩⟨ Dentoglobigerina, Globoquadrina ⟩⟨ Catapsydrax, Clavatorella, Paragloborotalia, Protentelloides ⟩⟨ Eoglobigerina, Globigerinatheka, Globorotaloides, Guembelitrioides, Orbulinoides, Parasubbotina, Pseudoglobigerinella, Subbotina
Daughter taxa (time control age-window is: 0-800Ma)
Catapsydrax indianus
Like C. dissimilis but more globular form, bulla lobed, and with 4-5 infralaminal accessory apertures.
Catapsydrax dissimilis
Like C. unicavus but with 2-4 infralaminal openings around the bulla (vs. 1 in C. unicavus)
Catapsydrax globiformis
Nearly spherical test with thickened walls; bulla large but low, with 3-4 small, semicircular, infralaminal apertures.
Catapsydrax africanus
Like C. howei but smaller and with smaller, less inflated bulla with 3-4 smaller, semi-circular infralaminal apertures.
Catapsydrax howei
Larger, loosely coiled test, with large globular bulla with 3 large, circular, infralaminal apertures
Catapsydrax unicavus
Moderately low trochospiral, compact to slightly lobulate test; Chambers globular, embracing, increasing rapidly in size. Terminal bulla extends over the umbilicus and has 1 infralaminal aperture.
Catapsydrax sp.
Specimens which cannot be assigned to established species


Citation: Catapsydrax Bolli, Loeblich, and Tappan, 1957
taxonomic rank: Genus
Type species: Globigerina dissimilis Cushman and Bermúdez, 1937.
Taxonomic discussion: Catapsydrax was erected by Bolli, Loeblich, and Tappan (1957:36) to encompass several species that are characterized in the adult stage by an umbilical bulla with at least one accessory infralaminal aperture. Globigerina dissimilis Cushman and Bermúdez, 1937 was selected as the type species. Bolli, Loeblich, and Tappan’s holotype and paratype of dissimilis, now Catapsydrax dissimilis (Cushman and Bermúdez) (Plate 4.1, Figs. 1-3), have two infralaminal apertures, although our emended diagnosis permits 2-4 in dissimilis. Most species of Catapsydrax (except for C. indianus) are long-ranging and of limited biostratigraphic use, although the extinction of C. dissimilis in the lower Miocene is an important biozone boundary. Isotopic studies reveal a consistent, deep, sub-thermocline ecology that can provide a stable climatic index for subsurface water masses.

The highest occurrence (HO) of Catapsydrax is uncertain due to the uncertain taxonomic affinity of Catapsydrax parvulus, described by Bolli, Loeblich, and Tappan (1957) from the upper Miocene G. mayeri Zone of the Lengua Fm., Trinidad. Kennett and Srinivasan (1983:26, text fig. 7) record this species as ranging above the extinction of C. unicavus (Zone N6= uppermost M3, close to the HO of C. dissimilis) into the late Miocene (Zone N15 = Zone M12). New images of the holotype of Catapsydrax parvulus have been examined (not shown but available at the USNM collection archive) and bring new information, although they do not answer all the questions. The problem is that the holotype specimen is small and poorly preserved. Indications of a coarse wall hint at Catapsydrax, yet there does not appear to be a bulla. The somewhat lateral compression and flattened spiral side are reminiscent of Globorotalia but it could equally be some kind of benthic species. In contrast, the SEM images of C. parvulus of Kennett and Srinivasan (1983, pl. 7, figs. 3-9) have a prominent bulla and are very close to Catapsydrax unicavus, although they are perhaps smaller and more compact than typical. We conclude that the holotype of Catapsydrax parvulus Bolli, Loeblich, and Tappan is not a Catapsydrax, while C. parvulus of Kennett and Srinivasan is, and include the latter in our concept of C. unicavus, including middle Miocene forms (Pl. 4.3, Fig. 13). The total range, therefore, of C. unicavus (and thus Catapsydrax) is lower Eocene to late Miocene Zone M12 based on the observation of Kennett and Srinivasan (1983).

Diagnosis of Catapsydrax can be problematic because bullae occur in several other genera, particularly in the Oligocene. Where preservation permits, distinctions should be possible based on wall texture. Moreover, the bullae in Subbotina, Dentoglobigerina and Globoturborotalita are usually more inflated than in Catapsydrax. Removal or natural breakage of catapsydracid bullae reveals a small primary umbilical aperture, sometimes with a thin lip (Pl. 4.3, Figs. 8, 14). Based on wall texture views of new holotype SEM images, we exclude bulla-bearing Catapsydrax martini scandretti (Blow and Banner, 1962) from Catapsydrax and refer it instead to Globoturborotalita (see Chapter 8, this volume), where it is regarded as a junior synonym of Globoturborotalita martini. Borsetti’s (1959) taxon Catapsydrax venzoi, described from the lower Oligocene of northern Italy, has a bulla similar to C. dissimilis, however it has a much higher spire than is typical. Comparison with the holotype of Subbotina gortanii, originally described as Catapsydrax gortanii Borsetti (1959), which was described from the same locality in Italy and recorded as having the same stratigraphic rage as C. venzoi, suggests these forms are conspecific and we place C. venzoi in synonymy with S. gortanii (Chapter 10, Pl. 10.4, this volume). The similar ‘Catapsydrax-like’ appearance of the wall in these two Italian species we suggest is a function of extensive recrystallization, which is typical of the foraminifera described in Borsetti’s study. [Coxall & Spezzaferri 2018]

Catalog entries: Catapsydrax

Distinguishing features:
Parent taxon (Globigerinidae): Wall spinose, usually with 3½-6 globular chambers in final whorl, trochospiral or planispiral
This taxon: Like Globorotaloides but more compact, radially compressed, with appressed inflated chambers in the final whorl, and always with bulla

NB These concise distinguishing features statements are used in the tables of daughter-taxa to act as quick summaries of the differences between e.g. species of one genus.
They are being edited as the site is developed and comments on them are especially welcome.


Globular, lobulate or compact, 3-4 chambers in the final whorl; chambers moderately inflated, appressed; primary aperture is umbilical and nearly always covered by bulla with one or more infralaminal apertures in the adult stage; apertures are bordered by a continuous, narrow lip that may be thickened by gametogenetic calcification. [Coxall & Spezzaferri 2018]

Wall type:
Coarsely cancellate, sacculifer-type or ruber/sacculifer-type, probably spinose in life, with tendency to develop a thick (gametogenic) crust in some species. [Coxall & Spezzaferri 2018]

Biogeography and Palaeobiology

Geographic distribution

Global. Especially common at high latitudes and in upwelling regions. Dissolution resistant

Phylogenetic relations
Uncertain. Olsson and others (2006b:76) suggested that Catapsydrax evolved form a subbotinid ancestor [Parasubbotina] in the early Eocene. However, it seems more probable that Catapsydrax evolved from Globorotaloides quadrocameratus (Olsson and others, 2006a), which would preserve Catapsydrax as a sister clade of Globorotaloides. [Coxall & Spezzaferri 2018]
Catapsydrax appears to have evolved from Globorotaloides (probably Globorotaloides suteri) during the Middle Eocene (Jenkins, 1971;Fleisher, 1974). [Kennett & Srinivasan 1983]

Most likely ancestor: Globorotaloides - at confidence level 2 (out of 5). Data source: .

Biostratigraphic distribution

Geological Range:
Notes: Catapsydrax appeared in the early Eocene (Olsson et al., 2006) and disappeared in the late Miocene (top of Zone M12; see discussion above). [Coxall & Spezzaferri 2018]
Last occurrence (top): at top of M12 zone (100% up, 9.8Ma, in Tortonian stage). Data source: Total of ranges of the species in this database
First occurrence (base): within E2 zone (55.20-55.81Ma, base in Ypresian stage). Data source: Total of ranges of species in this database

Plot of occurrence data:

Primary source for this page: Coxall & Spezzaferri 2018 - Olig Atlas chap.4 p.82 (major revision of Olsson et al. 2006, chapter 5, p. 69); Kennett & Srinivasan 1983, p.22


Berggren, W. A., Kent, D. V., Swisher, I. , C. C. & Aubry, M. -P. (1995b). A revised Cenozoic geochronology and chronostratigraphy. In, Berggren, W. A., Kent, D. V., Aubry, M. -P. & Hardenbol, J. (eds) Geochronology, Time Scales and Global Stratigraphic Correlations. SEPM (Society for Sedimentary Geology) Special Publication No. 54, 129-212. gs

Bermudez, P. J. (1937b). Nuevas especies de Foraminiferos del Eoceno de Cuba. Memorias de la Sociedad Cubana de Historia Natural “Felipe Poey”. 11: 137-150. gs

Blow, W. H. & Banner, F. T. (1962). The mid-Tertiary (Upper Eocene to Aquitanian) Globigerinaceae. In, Eames, F. E., Banner, F. T., Blow, W. H. & Clarke, W. J. (eds) Fundamentals of mid-Tertiary Stratigraphical Correlation. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 61-151. gs

Bolli, H. M. & Saunders, J. B. (1985). Oligocene to Holocene low latitude planktic foraminifera. In, Bolli, H. M., Saunders, J. B. & Perch-Neilsen, K. (eds) Plankton Stratigraphy. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK 155-262. gs

Borsetti, A. M. (1959). Tre nuovo Foraminiferi plactonici dell'Oligocene Piacentino. Giornale di Geologia. 27: 205-212. gs

Coxall, H. K. & Spezzaferri, S. (2018). Taxonomy, biostratigraphy, and phylogeny of Oligocene Catapsydrax, Globorotaloides, and Protentelloides. In, Wade, B. S., Olsson, R. K., Pearson, P. N., Huber, B. T. & Berggren, W. A. (eds) Atlas of Oligocene Planktonic Foraminifera. Cushman Foundation for Foraminiferal Research, Special Publication . 46(Chap 4): 79-124. gs

Cushman, J. A. & Bermudez, P. J. (1937). Further new species of foraminifera from the Eocene of Cuba. Contributions from the Cushman Laboratory for Foraminiferal Research. 13(1): 1-29. gs

Kennett, J. P. & Srinivasan, M. S. (1983). Neogene Planktonic Foraminifera. Hutchinson Ross Publishing Co., Stroudsburg, Pennsylvania. 1-265. gs

Loeblich, A. R. & Tappan, H. (1957b). Planktonic foraminifera of Paleocene and early Eocene Age from the Gulf and Atlantic coastal plains. In, Loeblich, A. R. , Jr., Tappan, H., Beckmann, J. P., Bolli, H. M., Montanaro Gallitelli, E. & Troelsen, J. C. (eds) Studies in Foraminifera. U.S. National Museum Bulletin . 215: 173-198. gs

Olsson, R. K., Pearson, P. N. & Huber, B. T. (2006c). Taxonomy, biostratigraphy, and phylogeny of Eocene Catapsydrax, Globorotaloides, Guembelitrioides, Paragloborotalia, Parasubbotina, and Pseudoglobigerinella n. gen. In, Pearson, P. N., Olsson, R. K., Hemleben, C., Huber, B. T. & Berggren, W. A. (eds) Atlas of Eocene Planktonic Foraminifera. Cushman Foundation for Foraminiferal Research, Special Publication . 41(Chap 5): 67-110. gs O


Catapsydrax compiled by the pforams@mikrotax project team viewed: 15-4-2024

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