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Article: Macrocystella Callaway, the earliest glyptocystitid cystoid

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 11
Part: 4
Publication Date: November 1968
Page(s): 580 600
Author(s): C. R. C. Paul
Addition Information

How to Cite

PAUL, C. R. C. 1968. Macrocystella Callaway, the earliest glyptocystitid cystoid. Palaeontology11, 4, 580–600.

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Macrocystella mariae Callaway 1877, type species of Macrocystella, has a stem which is divisible into proximal and distal portions; a theca composed of 4 basal, 5 infra-lateral, 5 lateral, 6 radial, and some oral plates; a large periproct surrounded by 5 thecal plates; biserial unbranched brachioles grouped into 5 ambulacra and arising from the margins of the flattened oral surface. In all these respects it agrees with Mimocystites bohemicus Barrande 1887, type species of Mimocystites which becomes a subjective junior synonym of Macrocystella. Macrocystella azaisi (Thoral) has 7 orals and thus Macrocystella differs from the rhombiferan Cheiro-crinus Eichwald only in the absence of pectinirhombs. The Macrocystellidae are therefore transferred to the rhombiferan superfamily Glyptocystitida.Macrocystella evolved into Cheirocrinus by the acquisition of pectinirhombs. In Macrocystella respiration probably took place through all the thecal plates which are very thin. In Cheirocrinus respiration was restricted to the pectinirhombs thus allowing much thicker and stronger thecal plates to develop.Macrocystella led a freely vagrant existence and may have had internal buoyancy devices. The stem did not provide permanent fixture and may have been used as a organ of locomotion in conjunction with the brachioles.
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