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Brooke & Riding, 1998

Ordovician and Silurian coralline red algae

Brooke, C., Riding, R.
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Solenopora gotlandica Rothpletz, hitherto placed in the Solenoporaceae Pia, is locally common in the mid-Silurian of Gotland and Wales. It possesses small cells, radial monomerous thallus organization, trichocytes, and sporangia arranged in irregular sori. Solenopora gotlandica is not congeneric with S. spongioides, the type species of Solenopora. It closely resembles the extant coralline red alga Sporolithon Heydrich. S. gotlandica is here transferred to Craticula gen. nov., and Craticula is placed in the Craticulaceae fam. nov., which morphologically closely resembles the Mesozoic-Cenozoic family Sporolithaceae. The Craticulaceae is placed in the extant rhodophyte order Corallinales. Middle-Late Ordovician Petrophyton kiaeri Høeg resembles Late Ordovician Solenopora richmondense Blackwell et al., which has sporangia in calcified compartments arranged in sori. These fossils may be craticulaceans. The apparent gap in the fossil record between Silurian Craticula and Cretaceous Sporolithon favours separation of these genera at family level. However, future work may demonstrate that the Craticulaceae is a junior synonym of the Sporolithaceae. Recognition of the Craticulaceae extends the earliest record of the Corallinales from Cretaceous to Silurian, and possibly Ordovician.

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