Coral Reefs

, Volume 6, Issue 1, pp 13–18

Skeletal structures and habitats of Recent and fossil Acanthochaetetes (subclass Tetractinomorpha, Demospongiae, Porifera)

  • J. Reitner
  • T. S. Engeser


The investigation of the habitats, the spicular skeletons, and the structure and chemistry of the nonspicular high-Mg calcite skeletons of a fossil Acanthochaetetes from the Late Albian (Cretaceous) of Northern Spain and the extant Acanthochaetetes wellsi from Pacific reefs demonstrates an astonishing correspondence. The skeletons of both species are hemispherical or pyriform with the lower part containing an epitheca. They are built up of single calicles which are subdivided by tabulae. Spines protrude from the walls into the calicles. Scanning electron microscopy and thin sections reveal that the high-Mg calcite skeleton consists of two different microstructures: a irregular ssensu Wendt 1979 or microlamellar (sensu Cuif et al. 1979) and a completely irregular structure. AAS and EDAX analysis of the calcite skeletons produce roughly the same Mg and Sr contents. Tylostyle megascleres and aster-like microscleres are observed in the spicular skeletons of both species. The only difference between the two species is the greater variability of the microscleres in the extant species. Moreover, the fossil species incorporates the scleres in the non-spicular skeleton, while the extant species does not. Both species live/lived in the same niches of tropical reefs: the cryptic habitats of submarine caves in the reef core and the dimly lighted habitats of the deeper fore-reef.


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1987

Authors and Affiliations

  • J. Reitner
    • 1
  • T. S. Engeser
    • 2
    • 3
  1. 1.Institut für Paläontologie der Freien Universität BerlinBerlin 33
  2. 2.Geologisch-Paläontologisches InstitutHamburg 13Federal Republic of Germany
  3. 3.Museum der Universität HamburgHamburg 13Federal Republic of Germany

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