Nannotax3 - ntax_cenozoic - Umbellosphaera Nannotax3 - ntax_cenozoic - Umbellosphaera


Classification: ntax_cenozoic -> Coccolith families inc sed -> Umbellosphaeraceae -> Umbellosphaera
Sister taxa: Umbellosphaera

Daughter taxa (time control age-window is: 0-800Ma)Granddaughter taxa
Umbellosphaera tenuis
Coccoliths convex outwards, relatively heavily calcified, with ridges on the distal surface.
Umbellosphaera tenuis type I
Umbellosphaera tenuis type II
Umbellosphaera tenuis type IIIa
Umbellosphaera tenuis type IIIb
Umbellosphaera tenuis type IV
Umbellosphaera tenuis type O

Umbellosphaera irregularis
Coccoliths concave outwards, without ridges on the distal surface

Umbellosphaera sp.
Specimens which cannot be assigned to established species


Citation: Umbellosphaera Paasche in Markali & Paasche, 1955
taxonomic rank: Genus
Type species: Coccolithus tenuis Kaptner, 1937
Synonyms: Ellipsodiscoaster Boudreaux and Hay, 1969

Distinguishing features:
Parent taxon (Umbellosphaeraceae): Placolith-like with distal shield much larger than proximal, predominantly formed from R-units, V-units vestigial.
This taxon: Coccoliths trumpet-shaped

Farinacci & Howe catalog pages: Umbellosphaera + * , Ellipsodiscoaster *


Coccoliths trumpet-shaped. Main part is R-unit, with narrow V-unit round base, but only tube is thick enough to give strong birefringence.
In cross polars distal shield usually shows low birefringence (as it is very thin), whilst tube is highly birefringent (since it is muchthicker than the shield). As a result Umbellosphaera coccoliths resemble a small Reticulofenestra with a wide dark rim.

Coccolith types: (based on Kleijne 1993):
1. Macrococcoliths: large liths with broad rims, forming outer surface of coccosphere; central area sub-circular.
2. Micrococcoliths: small liths with narrow rims, only visible on broken coccospheres; Central area elliptical, rims often with less ornament than on the macrococcoliths.
Thistye intergrade so it is porbbly more useful to consider the coccliths as varimorohic.

Ecology & Biogeography

The genus is characteristic of oligotrophic surface waters.

Phylogenetic relations
The coccoliths are clearly heterococcoliths, but show no obvious affinities to any of the major groups. The absence of a well developed V-unit cycle makes affinity with the Coccosphaerales or Zygodiscales unlikely and the absence of T-unit radial laths separates them from the Syracosphaerales. An alternative possibility suggested by the dominant development of the R-units is that they are highly modified Noelaerhabdaceae. This is weakly supported by the rare occurrence of malformed E. huxleyi specimens, which resemble Umbellosphaera, and by the general similarity of the cross-polarised light interference figure of Umbellosphaera coccoliths to those of Noelaerhabdaceaen coccoliths.

Search data:
LITHS: placolith, asymmetric, elliptical, CA: ca_conjunct, plate, closed,
CSPH: equant, BC-dimorphic, CROSS-POLARS: rim-unicyclic, R-prominent,
Lith size: 1.5->10µm; Coccosphere size: 8->15µm;
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: Total of ranges of the species in this database
First occurrence (base): within NN15 zone (3.70-3.92Ma, base in Zanclean stage). Data source: Total of ranges of species in this database

Plot of occurrence data:


Boudreaux, J. E. & Hay, W. W. (1969). Calcareous nannoplankton and biostratigraphy of the late Pliocene-Pleistocene-Recent sediments in the Submarex cores. Revista Española de Micropaleontología. 1(3): 249-292. gs O

Markali, J. & Paasche, E. (1955). On two species of Umbellosphaera, a new marine coccolithophorid genus. Nytt Magasin for Botanikk. 4: 95-100. gs


Umbellosphaera compiled by Jeremy R. Young, Paul R. Bown, Jacqueline A. Lees viewed: 14-4-2024

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

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