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Cladococcus abietinus Haeckel, 1887

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Benson, 1966, p. 173-175; pl. 6, figs. 2-3:

Cladococcus stalactites Haeckel

Cladococcus stalactites Haeckel, 1887, Challenger Rept., Zool., vol. 18, p. 227, P1. 27, fig. 4.

Test consisting of two shells in completely developed specimens, inner shell absent in most tests; outer shell with 12-22 or more, heavy, three-bladed, long, regularly disposed radial spines which continue inward as thin cylindrical beams joining with the surface of the inner shell, if present. Outer shell spherical but with irregular outline but relatively smooth surface, with irregular, unequal pores of all shapes and sizes, without polygonal frames, 9-14 on the half circumference. Inner shell spherical to subspherical,
thin-walled, generally with relatively large, equal, hexagonal pores separated by thin intervening bars, 10-12 on the half circumference. Radial spines very broad at their bases and in several specimens with a single pore piercing each blade, proximally; edges of each blade serrated; originating from each blade at a common level in all spines are prominent, lateral, arborescent branches which curve outward but do not anastomose with similar branches from adjacent spines.

Measurements; based on 30 specimens from stations 34, 46, 60, 81, 92, 93, 106, 133, and 136: diameter of outer shell 113-144 µm, of inner shell 68-80 µm, of common level defined by the positions of the lateral arborescent branches 209-363 µm; length of radial spines 105-258 µm.

Remarks. The specimen of Cladococcus stalactites illustrated by Haeckel differs from the majority of the Gulf specimens in the lack of serrations or thorns along the edge of each blade of the three-bladed radial spines. The presence of the inner shell is not constant within the specimens from the Gulf; therefore, several if not most specimens conform to the genus Cladococcus Müller.

Distribution. This species is very rare in the Gulf sediments. Its distribution in the northern half of the Gulf is spotty. It is present in this region only at stations 106, 115, 133, 136, 151, and 208. In the southern Gulf it is absent only at stations 27, 90, and 199. It thus has a greater affinity for the more nearly oceanic waters of the southern Gulf than for the warmer, slightly more saline waters of the northern Gulf. It is absent at most marginal localities. Its frequency in the Gulf is too low for analysis of its possible response to upwelling.
This species is apparently confined to tropical seas because it has not been reported from high latitudes. Haeckel (1887, p. 227) reports it from the western tropical Pacific at “Challenger” station 220.
Benson 1966


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