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Sponges from the Reef Trail Member of the Upper Guadalupian (Permian) Bell Canyon Formation, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

  • J. Keith Rigby (a1) and Gorden L. Bell (a1)


An extensive faunule of silicified calcareous sponges has been recovered from the Upper Guadalupian Reef Trail Member of the Bell Canyon Formation, from the Patterson Hills, in the southwestern part of the Guadalupe Mountains National Park in western Texas. This is the youngest silicified faunule of Permian sponges known from that area, and possibly the youngest from North America. It includes the hypercalcified ceractinomorph “sphinctozoans” Amblysiphonella sp., Tristratocoelia rhythmica Senowbari-Daryan and Rigby, 1988, Colospongiella permiana n. gen. and sp., Exaulipora permica (Senowbari-Daryan, 1990), Parauvanella minima Senowbari-Daryan, 1990, and the “sphinctozoans” Girtyocoelia beedei (Girty, 1909), Sollasia ostiolata Steinmann, 1882, Sollasiella reticulata n. gen. and sp., Ramosothalamiella divaricata n. gen. and sp., and Spica texana n. sp. Also present are Guadalupia zitteliana Girty, 1909, Guadalupia minuta n. sp., Lemonea cylindrica (Girty, 1909), and Lemonea micra Rigby, Senowbari-Daryan, and Liu, 1998. Aspiculate calcareous sponges include the “inozoids” Preperonidella rigbyi (Senowbari-Daryan, 1991), ?Djemelia sp., Radiotrabeculopora virga n. sp., Daharella ramosa Rigby and Senowbari-Daryan, 1996, Daharella pattersonia n. sp., Daharella crassa n. sp., and Newellospongia perforata n. gen. and sp. The problematic Lercaritubus problematicus Flügel et al., 1990 is tentatively included with the “inozoids.”

The new siliceous protomonaxonid demosponge Monaxoradiata lamina n. gen. and sp., is a moderately common sponge from the member. The new siliceous lithistid demosponges Chiastocolumnia cylindrica n. gen. and sp., Dactylites obconica n. sp., and Dactylites magna n. sp., the large hexactinellid sponge Toomeyospongia gigantia Rigby and Bell, 2005, and the new lyssacinosid Flexuospiculata hexactina n. gen. and sp., along with isolated large hexactines, are associated with these silicified calcareous sponges from the Reef Trail Member. Toomeyospongia gigantia Rigby and Bell, 2005, described earlier, is the only large complete hexactinellid sponge that is part of the Reef Trail Member assemblage.

The problematical Pulsatospongia obconica n. gen. and sp., whose taxonomic position is uncertain, along with an encrusting possible inozoid sponge, and spicule-lined ?burrows are also described as part of the fossil assemblage.

Significant faunal similarity occurs between this assemblage and those from several areas within the Paleo-Tethys Sea, especially with those from the Djebel Tebaga area of Tunisia. This suggests significant faunal exchange between the two regions, possibly resulting from strong trans-Panthalassan equatorial currents and a significant anti-cyclonic gyre within the Paleo-Tethys basin.



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Sponges from the Reef Trail Member of the Upper Guadalupian (Permian) Bell Canyon Formation, Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Texas

  • J. Keith Rigby (a1) and Gorden L. Bell (a1)


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