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Skeletal microstructure and mode of attachment in Palaeacis species (Anthozoa: Tabulata) from the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian of northeastern Oklahoma and northwestern Arkansas

  • Gregory E. Webb (a1)


Three species of the Paleozoic coral Palaeacis are described from northeastern Oklahoma and northwestern Arkansas. Included are the Chesterian species P. carinata Girty and P. snideri n. nom., a replacement name for the junior homonym P. cuneata Snider, and the Desmoinesian? species P. erecta n. sp. Coralla of each species exhibit two types of microstructure that characterize two skeletal zones. The outer skeletal zone is composed of numerous parallel trabeculae, mostly between 0.2 and 0.3 mm in diameter, that lie perpendicular to, and have their accretionary surfaces on, the exterior surface of the corallum. Trabeculae are closely spaced laterally and are not organized into rows except uncommonly on the distal portion of some coralla. Where trabeculae coalesce into parallel rows, ornamentation on the corallum exterior consists of parallel ridges or rows of small nodes. Where trabeculae are irregularly arranged, external ornamentation consists of irregularly disposed nodes. The inner skeletal zone consists of radially fibrous stereoplasm arranged into discrete septal spines that coalesce into irregularly developed septal ridges in each calice. In P. erecta, septal spines merge into continuous layers of fibro-normal stereoplasm in some places. On the basis of microstructure, corallum morphology, and external ornamentation P. carinata and P. snideri can be allied with P. axinoides Smyth and P. robusta Webb. Palaeacis erecta falls within the same group on the basis of microstructure and ornament, but has a unique corallum morphology.

Two distinct types of skeletal attachment occur in these Palaeacis species. Palaeacis carinata and P. snideri exhibit an encrusting attachment surface that results in a prostrate growth habit wherein smaller substrates were entirely engulfed, producing free-living coralla. Palaeacis erecta exhibits a small, circular attachment surface and an erect growth habit wherein most skeletal accretion occurs perpendicular to, and away from, the substrate. The substrate is not engulfed and the corallum remains attached and sessile throughout astogeny. Palaeacis erecta is, to date, the only Palaeacis species known to possess this erect, sessile growth form.



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Skeletal microstructure and mode of attachment in Palaeacis species (Anthozoa: Tabulata) from the Mississippian and Pennsylvanian of northeastern Oklahoma and northwestern Arkansas

  • Gregory E. Webb (a1)


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