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November 2002
This rad was found in a marine core from the South Atlantic, about 43 degrees
South, on the Agulhas Ridge. It is probably about 131,000 years old.

Any information about this rad, such as name, the environment it is usually found in, what temperatures it prefers, etc., would be great.

Thanks very much for your help!

Lora Teitler 2002/11/11

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Although I'm not very sure anymore, I think that fragments of such a thing - or something similar - were occasionally seen by me years ago in Antarctic Neogene sediments. But I really couldn't say more precisely where; and identification from fragments is anyway suspect. Sorry not to be of more help, but the large size of the form means that it is unlikely to be present in most sediment preparations anyway.

regards, dave l.

Dave Lazarus (2002/11/12)

Dave, thank you very much for your response. I am hopeful that I will be able to go back and find some fragments that may be able to helpful in further defining/identifying this creature. Of course, if anybody else sees any fragments that they think might belong to this rad, please let me know! -- Lora

Lora Teitler (2002/11/14)

while looking for something else entirely in the Challenger monograph, I noticed that Haeckel illustrated something with a largely similar shell - but without any external wings. He reported finding it in the south Atlantic (Challenger Station 332). - regards, dave

Dave Lazarus (2002/12/10)


Close-up of apex of mystery rad

Dr. Bjorklund asked me to post some more detailed photos of the mystery rad, to share with everybody that is interested...

I have included a small reference image of the whole test, using the original image; unfortunately the orientation is a little different between the two images.


Close-up, apical spine

This is an even closer view of the apical spine.

Lora Teitler (2003/01/31)

Mid-section, with "wings"

Notice that there does not seem to be any internal structure in this area, in contrast to near the aperture (see next images)

Lora Teitler (2003/01/31)

Close-up, aperture

Near the aperture, there appears to be some sort of internal structure. Also, I have noticed that there may be some smaller "wings" or "fins" here. Some of the longitudinal bars (bars that run the length of the test) do not curve inward as strongly as the others; these bars project outward, and may form smaller "wings".

Lora Teitler (2003/01/31)

Close-up, internal structure near aperture

The 'bars' that make up the internal structure seem to be relatively delicate.

Lora Teitler (2003/01/31)

It is noticeable that the longitudinal bars (the bars that run the length of the test) curve in two planes, one way that this test differs from that of Orosphaera, which has bars that seem to curve in one plane only. The bars that form the middle "wings" curve strongly outward, and thus are similar to the bars that may form small "wings" near the aperture.

Would it be of interest to share some SEM photos (including close-ups of some similar features) of Orosphaera?

I am a graduate student in the Geological Sciences Dept. of Cal. State U., Hayward, a complete novice at identifying rads; I will be glad of any help!


I had to rush off before, and forgot to add that I agree with Dave Lazarus (I have written to him directly) that the mystery rad is at least very similar, and at least very closely related, to the Nassellarian drawn by Haeckel in the reference in Dave's note above. I am not sure whether it should be considered the same, though...?

I have now found another definite fragment of the mystery rad, from an older time, I think it is Marine Isotope Stage 7, I will be checking.

Lora Teitler (2003/01/31)

I agree with Dave, his pick of Haliphormis lagena is decent (600-700µm long, 300-400 µm wide), and the size is therefore in accordance to Haeckels given measurements, however, it is significantly longer (1200 µm), but of about the same with width 450 µm (maximum diameter). Still the Challenger illustration differ from your species in a couple of important structures:
1) The apical spine is much more robust and better developed, as well as the transversal processes on the apical spine are missing on Haeckel’s specimen.
2) The well developed “wings” are probably developed between the Ll, Lr, and D spines, and the thorax wall.
3) The photograph named “Close-up, internal structure near aperture” do depict an interesting structure that is not present on Haeckel’s specimen.

Based on the above observed differences I will conclude that the two species are closely related, but not the same species. Closely related because of size, general shape, and essentially found in the same area. Different because of the differences as pointed out in 1, 2, and 3 above. There is still a possibility for Haeckels specimen to be a juvenile form, but I doubt that, as the apical horn normally develop at an early stage. In this case the apical horn is so dominant that it should have been present even in the juvenile forms, such as in Haeckels illustration. During my work in on Site 704 (Neogene part) I saw fragment of the horn, just as in Lora’s picture entitled “Close-up, apical spine”.

Kjell R. Bjørklund (2003/02/04)

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