Skip Navigation

Lophphllid Corals

Previous--L. magnificum, n. sp. | Next--References

Stratigraphic Summary

The species described in this paper show but little resemblance to published lophophyllid coral faunas. The Permian forms from Asia and Europe are simpler in structure, have fewer tabulae, and show thicker rhopaloid septa in mature stages than the lower Pennsylvanian corals from the central United States. The Upper Carboniferous column-bearing corals of Peru (Douglas, 1920) also seem to be more like the Permian species of Lophophyllidium and "Sinophyllum." In the Donetz Basin of the U.S.S.R., Lophophyllidium first appears in the C2/3 zone (Fomitchev, 1938), which is equivalent to the upper Des Moines series in North America. It seems, therefore, that lower Upper Carboniferous lophophyllid coral faunas are either not well developed in other areas or have not been described adequately.

The significant features of the midcontinent Pennsylvanian coral faunas are the relative abundance of material and the considerable number of distinct species. The genus Lophophyllidium is recognized and 17 forms are here assigned to it. The material now available includes many new species too poorly preserved or insufficiently studied to be described at this time.

Beds of Morrow age are characterized by a considerable variety of rugose coral genera, most of which are quite different from those occurring in higher beds. One species, of the Lophophyllidium newelli type, is described from the Brentwood limestone member of the Bloyd shale, the Otterville limestone, and the Wapanucka limestone.

Only a few corals are available from beds of Lampasas age. The new species, Lophophyllidium mundulum, and L. confertum, are recognized in the Pumpkin Creek and Lester limestones of Oklahoma.

The lophophyllid corals are much more abundant and widespread in the Des Moines series and 8 different types of corals are described.

The corals from the lower part of the Missouri series are represented by a large number of specimens. Three types of these corals are described.

Undescribed column-bearing corals from upper Missouri and Virgil beds have a strikingly different appearance. As a group they are characterized by thinner and more distinct structural elements, more cylindrical shape, narrower axial column, and absence of stereoplasm. Upper Pennsylvanian rocks also contain corals of the Lophophyllidium newelli type that have persistent large alar pseudofossulae, few or no tabulae, and condensed growth stages. The corals from the Wewoka formation described as L. profundum by Girty (1915, p. 19) and similar forms from the Cherokee shale, Jacksboro limestone, and Gunsight limestone seem to represent a third genetic group of lophophyllid corals. They are characterized by a very large cardinal fossula, large axial column having a projection into the fossula, a seeming lack of tabulae, and a corallite almost completely filled by stereoplasm.

It is unwise to attempt to set up definite zones and ranges of lophophyllid species on the basis of the present study. The coral faunas of the lower Pennsylvanian are highly varied and contain many distinct species, but more study and collecting needs to be done before the significant features of the fauna are established. Examination of several hundred sectioned specimens of lophophyllid corals from many different Pennsylvanian formations has indicated that these corals have many characters that change rapidly throughout late Paleozoic time. This fact, together with their abundant occurrence, suggests possible wide stratigraphic usefulness of lophophyllid corals.

Hill (1938) has pointed out that rugose coral faunas were greatly influenced by ecologic conditions and certain types were common only in particular environments. This indicates that care is needed to avoid correlation of faunas representing merely similar facies rather than faunas that are contemporaneous.

The following table summarizes the stratigraphic distribution of the coral species here described.

Stratigraphic and geographic distribution of described species of Lophophyllidium in Pennsylvanian rocks of North America. In the table, I indicates Illinois; K, Kansas; M, Missouri; O, Oklahoma; and T, Texas.

Series or Major Stratigraphic Divisions MorrowLampasasDes MoinesMissouriVirgil
L. proliferum (McChesney)   I 
L. profundum (Edwards and Haime)  ?Ohio   
L. minutum, n. sp.O    
L. confertum, n. sp. O   
L. mundulum, n. sp. O   
L. girtyi, n. sp.  O  
L. compressum, n. sp.  T  
L. complexum, n. sp.  O  
L. murale, n. sp.  K  
L. expansum, n. sp.  M,K  
L. magnificum, n. sp.  O  
L. newelli, n. sp.  O  
L. distinctum, n. sp.  K  
L. radiatum, n. sp.   K 
L. elongatum, a. sp.   O 
L. sp. A O   
L. sp. B   O 
L. profundum var. radiocosum (Girty)  O  
L.? distortum (Worthen)    I
L. westi (Beede)   K 
L.? proliferum var. sauridens (White)? Carb., N. Mex., Colo. ?

Previous--L. magnificum, n. sp. | Next--References

Kansas Geological Survey, Geology
Placed on web September 2005; originally published November 30, 1942.
Comments to
The URL for this page is