Skip to main content Accessibility help

Mississippian Rugose Corals from Alabama: A Review

  • Sergio Rodríguez (a1) and David C. Kopaska-Merkel (a2)


The Mississippian rugose corals from Alabama housed in several museums in that state are revised on the basis of current knowledge of this subclass. Fifteen species belonging to 10 genera have been identified; three species are new, including Zaphrentites lacefieldi, Palastraea cullmanense, and Siphonophyllia alabamaense. Four coral assemblages characterize four stratigraphic subdivisions of the Mississippian in Alabama: Osagean, Meramecian, lower Chesterian, and upper Chesterian. Corals are abundant in some units but diversity is quite low in all assemblages. The level of endemism is very high, except for the lower Chesterian assemblage, which contains some western Paleotethyan forms. Two possible coral evolutionary lineages have been identified.



Hide All
Andronaco, P. 1986. Lithofacies, depositional environments, and cyclicity of the Bangor Limestone in Blount County, north-central Alabama. Unpublished M.S. thesis, University of Alabama, 250 p.
Ausich, W. I. and Smith, D. P. 1982. New evidence for the early life history of solitary rugose corals. Journal of Paleontology, 56:1,2231,229.
Bassler, R. S. 1937. The Paleozoic rugose coral family Paleocyclidae. Journal of Paleontology, 11:189201.
Bat, D. T. 1987. A subsurface facies analysis of the distribution, depositional environments, and diagenetic overprint of the Evans and Lewis sandstone units in north Mississippi and northwest Alabama. Unpublished M.S. thesis, University of Oklahoma, Stillwater, Oklahoma, 225 p.
Blakey, R. C. 2007. North American paleogeographic maps.
Butts, C. 1917. Description and correlation of the Mississippian formations of western Kentucky. Kentucky Geological Survey, 119 p.
Butts, C. 1922. The Mississippian series of eastern Kentucky. Kentucky Geological Survey, ser. 5:1188.
Butts, C. 1926. Geology of Alabama: the Paleozoic rocks. Alabama Geological Survey Special Reports, 14:41230.
Butts, C. 1929. Some issues in Chester stratigraphy in Kentucky and Illinois. Journal of Geology, 37:3046.
Carruthers, R. G. 1910. Evolution of Zaphrentis delanouei . Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society, 66:523538.
Castelnau, F. C. de. 1843. Essai sur le système silurien de l'Amerique septentrionale. Paris, 56 p.
Cotton, G. (ed.). 1984. The Revised Rugose Coral Genera. Kiddermister, 283 p.
d'Orbigny, A. 1849. Note sur les polypiers fossils. Victor Masson, Paris, 12 p.
d'Orbigny, A. 1850. Podrome de paleontology stratigraphique universelle des animaux mollusques et rayonnés, etc. Victor Masson, Paris, 394 p.
d'Orbigny, A. 1852. Cours élémentaire de paleontology et de géologie stratigraphique. Victor Masson, Paris, 382 p.
Dybowski, W. N. 1873. Beschreibung einiger neuen oder wenig bekennten Arten der Zoantharia rugosa aus der Kohlenformation Russlands. Zapadnogo Imperialnogo Minerali ob-va, 8:102116.
Easton, W. M. 1943. Revision of Campophyllum in North America. Journal of Paleontology, 18:119132.
Easton, W. M. 1944. New Chester corals from Alabama and Tennessee. Journal of Paleontology, 17:276280.
Easton, W. M. 1945. Kinkaid corals from Illinois. Journal of Paleontology, 19:383389.
Easton, W. M. 1957. On the tetracoral Lithostrotion harmodites Milne-Edwards and Haime. Journal of Paleontology, 31:616622.
Easton, W. M. 1973. On the tetracorals Acrocyathus and Lithostrotionella and their septal morphology. Journal of Paleontology, 47:121135.
Ehlers, G. M. and Stumm, E. C. 1953. A new species of the tetracoral genus Palastraea from the Mississippian of Kentucky. Papers of the Michigan Academy of Science, Arts and Letters, 38:383387.
Fedorowski, J. 1981. Carboniferous corals: distribution and sequence. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 26:87160.
Fedorowski, J. 1987. Upper Palaeozoic rugose corals from southwestern Texas and adjacent areas. Gaptank and Wolfcampian corals. Part 1. Palaeontologia Polonica, 48:1271.
Fischer von Waldheim, G. 1830. Oryctographie du gouvernement de Moscou. Moscow, 28 p.
Fisher, D. R. 1987. Regional diagenesis of the Tuscumbia Limestone (Meramecian-Mississippian) in northern Alabama and northeastern Mississippi. Unpublished M.S. thesis, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 218 p.
Fleming, J. 1828. A history of British animals. Beel and Bradfute, Edinburgh, 565 p.
Grabau, A. W. 1922. Palaeozoic corals of China. Part 1. Tetraseptata. Palaeontologica Sinica Series B, 2:176.
Grabau, A. W. 1928. Palaeozoic corals of China. Part I. Tetraseptata II. Palaeontologica Sinica, 2:1175.
Greene, G. K. 1904. Contribution to Indiana Palaeontology, 17:168175.
Grove, B. H. 1935. Studies in Paleozoic corals, Hl-a revision of some Mississippian Zaphrentids. American Midland Naturalist, 16:337378.
Hall, J. and Whitney, J. D. 1858. Report on the geological survey of the State of Iowa, embracing the results of investigations made during 1855, 1856 and 1857, 4 p.
Hill, D. 1938–1940. A monograph on the Carboniferous rugose corals of Scotland. Palaeontographical Society Monographs, 91–93:1204.
Hill, D. 1981. Coelenterata. Supplement 1. Rugosa and Tabulata, p. F1F762. In Moore, R. C. and Teichert, C. (eds.), Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology. Geological Society of America and University Kansas Press, Lawrence.
Hudson, R. G. S. 1929. On the Lower Carboniferous corals: Orionastraea and its distribution in the north of England. Proceedings of Leeds Philosophical Society, 1:440457.
Hudson, R. G. 1941. On the Carboniferous corals: Zaphrentis carruthersi sp. nov. from the Mirk Fell beds and its relation to the Z. delanouei species group. Yorkshire Geological Society Proceedings, 24:290311.
Jeffords, R. M. 1955. Mississippian corals from New Mexico and related Pennsylvanian species. University of Kansas Paleontology Contribution Article, 1:112.
Khoa, N. D. 1977. Carboniferous Rugosa and Heterocorallia from boreholes in the Lublin region (Poland). Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 22:301404.
Koker, E. M. J. 1924. Anthozoa uit het Perm van het eiland Timor, I: Zaphrentidae, Plerophyllidae, Cystiphyllidae, Amphiastreidae. Minjwez Nederland-Oost-Indië, Jaarbuch, 51:150.
Kopaska-Merkel, D. C. and Haywick, D. W. 2001. A lone biodetrital mound in the Chesterian (Carboniferous) of Alabama? Sedimentary Geology, 145:253268.
Mack, G. H., James, W. C., and Thomas, W. A. 1981. Composition of Mississippian sandstones associated with southern Appalachian-Ouachita orogen. American Association of Petroleum Geologists Bulletin, 65:1,4441,456.
Mars, J. C. and Thomas, W. A. 1999. Sequential filling of a late Paleozoic foreland basin. Journal of Sedimentary Research, 69:1,1911,208.
McCoy, F. 1844. A synopsis of the characters of the Carboniferous limestone fossils of Ireland. University Press (Dublin), 207 p.
McCoy, F. 1849. On some new genera and species of Palaeozoic corals and foraminifera. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 2:120, 119–136.
McCoy, F. 1851. A description of some new Mountain Limestone fossils. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, Series 2:167175.
Miesfeldt, M. A. 1985. Facies relationships between the Parkwood and Bangor formations in the Black Warrior basin. Unpublished M.S. thesis, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 149 p.
Miller, S. A. and Gurley, W. F. E. 1893. Description of some new species of invertebrates from the Paleozoic rocks of Illinois and adjacent states. Bulletin of the Illinois State Museum of Natural History, 3:165.
Miller, S. A. and Gurley, W. F. E. 1895. New and interesting species of Paleozoic fossils. Bulletin of the Illinois State Museum of Natural History, 1,895:1–89.
Milne-Edwards, H. and Haime, J. 1848. Recherches sur les polypiers, premier memorie; observations sur la structure et le d'eveloppement des polypiers en general. Annales des Sciences Naturelles, 9:3789.
Milne-Edwards, H. and Haime, J. 1850. A monograph of the British fossil corals. Palaeontographical Society Monographs, 1322.
Milne-Edwards, H. and Haime, J. 1851. Monographie des polypiers fossils des terrains Paléozoiques, precede d'un tableau general de la classification des Polypes. Archives du Museum d'Histoire Naturelle de Paris, 5:1502.
Milne-Edwards, H. and Haime, J. J., 1852. A Monograph of the British fossil corals. Vol. 2, p. 147210. Palaeontographical Society, London.
Nix, M. A. 1991. Facies and facies relationships of the lower part of the Parkwood Formation in the Black Warrior basin of Mississippi and Alabama. Unpublished M.S. thesis, University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa, Alabama, 1,362 p.
Nudds, J. R. 1980. An illustrated key to the British lithostrotionid corals. Acta Paleontologica Polonica, 25:385394.
Pashin, J. C. (ed.). 1993. New perspectives on the Mississippian System of Alabama. Alabama Geological Society Field Trip Guidebook, 30:1151.
Poty, E. 1981. Recherches sur les Tétracoralliaires et les Hétérocoralliaires du Viséen de la Belgique. Mededelingen Rijks Geologische Dienst , 35:1161.
Poty, E. and Hannay, D. 1994. Stratigraphy of rugose corals in the Dinantian of the Boulonnais (France). Memoires de l'Institut Géologique de l'Université de Louvain, 35:5182.
Rindsberg, A. K. 1994. Ichnology of the upper Mississippian Hartselle Sandstone of Alabama, with notes on other Carboniferous formations. Alabama Geological Survey Bulletin, 158:1107.
Rodríguez, S. 2004. Taphonomic alterations in upper Viséan dissepimented rugose corals from the Sierra del Castillo Unit (Carboniferous, Córdoba, Spain). Palaeogeography, Palaeoclimatology, Palaeoecology, 214:135153.
Rodríguez, S. and Falces, S. 1992. Corales rugosos. In Rodríguez, S. (ed.) Analisis paleontológico y sedimentológico de la Cuenca Carbonífera de los Santos de Maimona (Badajoz). Coloquios de Paleontología, 44:159218.
Rodríguez, S., Hernando, J. M., and Rodriguez-Curt, L. 2002. Estudio de los corales lithostrotiónidos del Viseense (Misisipiense) de la Unidad de la Sierra del Castillo (Córdoba, España). Revista Española de Paleontología, 17:1336.
Rodríguez, S. and Somerville, I. D. 2007. Comparison of rugose corals from the upper Viséan of SW Spain and Ireland: implications for improved resolutions in the late Mississippian coral biostratigraphy. In Hubman, B. and Piller, W. E. (eds.), Fossil Corals and Sponges: Proceedings of the 9th International Symposium on Fossil Cnidaria and Porifera, Graz, 2003. Austrian Academy of Sciences, Schriftenreihe der Erdwissenschaftlichen Kommissionen, 17:275302.
Rodríguez, S., Somerville, I. D., Said, I., and Cózar, P. 2012. Late Viséan coral fringing reef at Tiouinine (Morocco): implications for the role of rugose corals as reef-building organisms in the Mississippian. Geological Journal, 46:462476.
Said, I., Somerville, I. D., Rodríguez, S., and Cózar, P. 2013. Mississippian corals from the Khenifra area, central Morocco: variation in assemblages related to changes in facies and paleoecology. Gondwana Research, 23:367379.
Sando, W. J. 1977 a. The status of North American upper Paleozoic coral biostratigraphy. Journal of Paleontology, 51:122.
Sando, W. J. 1977 b. Significance of coiled protocoralla in some Mississippian horn corals. Palaeontology, 20:4758.
Sando, W. J. 1983. Revision of Lithostrotionella (Coelenterata, Rugosa) from the Carboniferous and Permian. U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper, 1,247:152.
Sando, W. J. and Armstrong, A. K. 1977. The zoogeography of North American Mississippian corals. Bureau de Recherches Geologiques et Minieres, Memoire, 89:175184.
Sando, W. J. and Bamber, E. W. 1985. Coral zonation of the Mississippian System in the Western Interior Province of North America. U. S. Geological Survey Professional Paper, 1,334:161.
Scotese, C. R. 2002. PALEOMAP website.
Semenoff-Tian-Chansky, P. 1974. Recherches sur les Tétracoralliaires du Carbonifére du Sahara occidental. Editions du Centre Nationelle de la Recherche Scientifique, Ser. 6, Science de la Terre, 30:1316.
Semenoff-Tian-Chansky, P. and Nudds, J. R. 1979. Revision de quelques espèces de Lithostrotion des Iles Britaniques décrites par Milne-Edwards and Haime (Tétracoralliaires carbonifères). Bulletin du Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, 1:245283.
Simpson, G. B. 1900. Preliminary descriptions of new genera of Palaeozoic rugose corals. New York State Museum Bulletin, 8:199222.
Somerville, I. D., Cózar, P., Said, I., Vachard, D., Medina-Varea, P., and Rodríguez, S. 2013. Palaeobiogeographical constraints on the distribution of foraminifers and rugose corals in the Carboniferous Tindouf Basin, S. Morocco. Journal of Palaeogeography, 2:118.
Thomas, W. A. 1972. Mississippian stratigraphy of Alabama. Alabama Geological Survey Monograph, 12:1121.
Thomas, W. A. and Mack, G. H. 1982. Paleogeographic relationship of a Mississippian barrier-island and shelf-bar system (Hartselle Sandstone) in Alabama to the Appalachian-Ouachita orogenic belt. Geological Society of America Bulletin, 93:619.
Vaughan, A. 1906. Faunal lists and account of the faunal succession and correlation. In Matley, C. A. and Vaughan, A. (eds.), The Carboniferous rocks at Rush (County Dublin). Quarterly Journal of the Geological Society of London, 62:295322.
Verril, A. E. 1865. Classification of polyps (Extract condensed from a synopsis of the polypi of the North Pacific Exploring Expedition, under captains Ringgold and Rodgers, U.S.N.). Essex Institute Proceedings, 4:145149.
Webb, G. E. 1987. The coral fauna of the Pitkin Formation (Chesterian), northeastern Oklahoma and northwestern Arkansas. Journal of Paleontology, 61:462493.
Webb, G. E., Sando, W. J., and Raymond, A. 1997. Mississippian coral latitudinal diversity gradients (Western Interior United States): testing the limits of high resolution diversity data. Journal of Paleontology, 71:780791.
Weyer, D. 1973. Einige Rugose Korallen aus der Erbslochgrauwacke (Unterdevon) des Unterharzes. Zeitschrift für Geologische Wissenschaften, 1:4565.


Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed