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Spongurus sp. cf. S. elliptica Benson, 1966

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Benson, 1966, p. 189-190; pl. 8, figs. 4-5:

Spongurus cf. elliptica (Ehrenberg)

?Acanthosphaera elliptica Ehrenberg, 1873a, Akad. Berlin, Monatsb. (1872), p 301; l873b, Akad Berlin, Abhandl. (1872), P1 7, fig 4.

Large ellipsoidal, spongy-appearing test with numerous (50-200 or more) short, stout, conical to three-bladed radial spines arising from its surface. Test not spongy but consists of numerous (5-12 or more) closely and equally spaced ellipsoidal shells that are joined by beams originating from the nodes of the intervening bars of each shell. Innermost shell small, spherical to ellipsoidal, indistinct. Pores of each shell small, subpolygonal, of subequal size, with subregular arrangement. Radial spines not traceable inwards as distinct beams piercing all shells. In several specimens additional but incomplete concentric shells are present at each pole of the major shell axis, giving the test a three-jointed appearance.

Measurements; based on 30 specimens from stations 27, 34, 46, 91, and 133: length of test (major axis) 86-107 µm; minor diameter 70-127 µm; length of radial spines 6-74 µm.

Remarks. Although this species is not composed of spongy silica, it does appear so; therefore, it was placed within the genus Spongurus Haeckel because it could not be identified with any other genera. Ehrenberg (1873a, p. 301) described Acanthosphaera elliptica as having 7-8 concentric, ellipsoidal shells, but his poor illustration (1873b, P1. 7, fig. 4) of this species does not allow positive identification of the Gulf species with it.

Distribution. This species is very rare in the Gulf, occurring only at stations 27, 34, 46, 56, 71, 91, 92, 95, 106, and 133. It is, therefore, of oceanic affinity but is rare in the tropical Pacific assemblage. It does have a slightly greater frequency in the southern Gulf.
Ehrenberg (1873a, p. 301) reported Acanthosphaera elliptica from the Philippine Sea. Because no other illustrated species resembles the Gulf species, its world-wide distribution is unknown.
Benson 1966











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