Hyperammina elongata, from here.

Belongs within: Foraminifera.

The Hyperamminidae were treated by Cushman (1940) as a family of Foraminifera with an elongate, undivided, agglutinate test. The Hippocrepininae (with test free) and Dendrophryinae (with test attached) were later placed by Loeblich & Tappan (1964) as independent subfamilies within the family Astrorhizidae; as the latter group is now known to be polyphyletic and the position of the taxa listed below is uncertain, Cushman’s ‘Hyperamminidae’ is retained here for the sake of convenience.

Hyperamminids: a rough retort
Published 2 December 2013
Hyperammina elongata, photographed by Onno Groß.

Agglutinated foram time again! In previous posts, I’ve described how these aquatic amoeboids construct coverings for themselves by cementing together particles from the surrounding environment. In the family of forams I’m presenting you with today, the Hyperamminidae, their choice of particle is generally sand grains, glued together with a relatively small amount of cement. As a result, hyperamminids often have a quite rough appearance to their walls. They live free, not cemented to their substrate. The test is not divided into chambers; instead, it starts as a globular chamber (the proloculus) that opens into an elongate tube. The overall appearance, therefore, is not dissimilar to one of those glass cylinders with a basal bulb (like an old thermometer). In species of Hyperammina, the tube is simple and tapers as it gets further from the proloculus. In contrast, the genus Saccorhiza has the tube more constant in diameter, and also has the tube branching dichotomously (Loeblich & Tappan 1964). Hyperamminids are abundant in the deep sea, and though certainly not among the largest forams, they can easily be a millimetre or more in size.

Agglomeration of Saccorhiza ramosa tubes, from here.

The classification of agglutinated forams presented by Kaminski (2004) lists six genera in the Hyperamminidae, with separate subfamilies for Hyperammina and Saccorhiza. These two genera are the only ones alive today; the remainder are all fossils. The record of hyperamminids stretches back some way: specimens have been assigned to Saccorhiza from the Lower Carboniferous, while Hyperammina is recorded from as far back as the Lower Ordovician. Yep, that’s a single genus that goes back nearly 500 million years (really makes you wish that meant something). The genus Platysolenites, if correctly placed within the hyperamminids, is one of the oldest of all forams, known from the very early Cambrian. The other genera are also Palaeozoic; one of them, Sacchararena, had a test made with fine white sand, leading to its name: ‘sugar sand’ (Loeblich & Tappan 1984).

Systematics of Hippocrepinida
    |--Botellina Carpenter, Jeffreys & Thomson 1870LT64 (see below for synonymy)
    |    |--*B. labyrinthica Brady 1881 [=*Arbotellum labyrinthicum]LT64
    |    `--B. pinnataC40
    `--Hippocrepinoidea [Hemicrepinacea, Hyperamminoididae]M13
         |    |--Sansabaina Loeblich & Tappan 1984HW93
         |    |--Kechenotiske Loeblich & Tappan 1984HW93
         |    `--Hyperamminoides Cushman & Waters 1928 [=Hyperamminella Cushman & Waters 1928 non de Folin 1881]LT64
         |         |--*H. elegans (Cushman & Waters 1928) [=*Hyperamminella elegans, Hippocrepina elegans]LT64
         |         `--H. barksdaleiBL79
         |    |--Saccorhiza Eimer & Fickert 1899LT64 [SaccorhizinaeM13]
         |    |    `--*S. ramosa (Brady 1879) [=Hyperammina ramosa]LT64
         |    `--Hyperammina Brady 1878LT64 (see below for synonymy)
         |         |--*H. elongata Brady 1878 [=*Arhyperammum elongatum]LT64
         |         |--H. abyssorum (Dawson 1870) [=*Rhabdopleura abyssorum]LT64
         |         |--H. apticaBL79
         |         |--H. baltica Eisenack 1954C61
         |         |--H. bulbosaC40
         |         |--H. devoniana Crespin 1961C61
         |         |--H. friabilis Brady 1884 [=*Hyperammina (sensu Eimer & Fickert) friabilis]LT64
         |         |--H. gracilenta Gutschick & Treckman 1959C61
         |         |--H. hastula Moreman 1933C61
         |         `--H. ramosissima Chapman 1901C01
              |  i. s.: Arenosiphon Grubbs 1939HW93
              |           `--*A. gigantea Grubbs 1939 [=Bathysiphon gigantea]LT64
              |--Jaculella Brady 1879LT64 [=Arjaculum Rhumbler 1913LT64; JaculellinaeM13]
              |    `--*J. acuta Brady 1879 [=*Arjaculum acutum]LT64
              `--Hippocrepininae [Arhippocrepnia]LT64
                   |--Giraliarella Crespin 1958LT64
                   |    `--*G. angulata Crespin 1958LT64
                   |--Protobotellina Heron-Allen & Earland 1929LT64
                   |    `--*P. cylindrica Heron-Allen & Earland 1929LT64
                   |--Pseudohyperammina Crespin 1958LT64
                   |    `--*P. radiostoma Crespin 1958LT64
                   `--Hippocrepina Parker in Dawson 1870 [=Arhippocrepum Rhumbler 1913]LT64
                        `--*H. indivisa Parker in Dawson 1870 [=*Arhippocrepum indivisum]LT64

Botellina Carpenter, Jeffreys & Thomson 1870LT64 [=Arbotellum Rhumbler 1913LT64; Botellinidae, Botellininae, BotellinoideaM13]

Hyperammina Brady 1878LT64 [=Arhyperammum Rhumbler 1913LT64, Bactrammina Eimer & Fickert 1899LT64; incl. Hyperammina Eimer & Fickert 1899 non Brady 1878LT64, Rhabdopleura Dawson 1870 non Allman 1869LT64; HyperammininaeM13]

*Type species of generic name indicated


[BL79] Basov, V. A., B. G. Lopatin, I. S. Gramberg, A. I. Danjushevskaya, V. Ya. Kaban’kov, V. M. Lazurkin & D. K. Patrunov. 1979. Lower Cretaceous lithostratigraphy near Galicia Bank. Initial Reports of the Deep Sea Drilling Project 47: 683–717.

[C01] Chapman, F. 1901. On some fossils of Wenlock age from Mulde, near Klinteberg, Gotland; with notes by Prof. T. Rupert Jones and Dr. F. A. Bather. Annals and Magazine of Natural History, series 7, 7: 141–160, pl. 3.

[C61] Crespin, I. 1961. Upper Devonian Foraminifera from Western Australia. Palaeontology 3 (4): 397–409.

[C40] Cushman, J. A. 1940. Foraminifera: Their classification and economic use 3rd ed. Harvard University Press: Cambridge (Massachusetts).

[HW93] Hart, M. B., & C. L. Williams. 1993. Protozoa. In: Benton, M. J. (ed.) The Fossil Record 2 pp. 43–70. Chapman & Hall: London.

Kaminski, M. A. 2004. The Year 2000 classification of the agglutinated Foraminifera. In: Bubík, M. & M. A. Kaminski (eds) Proceedings of the Sixth International Workshop on Agglutinated Foraminifera. Grzybowski Foundation Special Publication 8: 237–255.

[LT64] Loeblich, A. R., Jr & H. Tappan. 1964. Sarcodina: chiefly “thecamoebians” and Foraminiferida. In: Moore, R. C. (ed.) Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology pt C. Protista 2 vol. 1. The Geological Society of America and The University of Kansas Press.

Loeblich, A. R., Jr & H. Tappan. 1984. Some new proteinaceous and agglutinated genera of Foraminiferida. Journal of Paleontology 58 (4): 1158–1163.

[M13] Mikhalevich, V. I. 2013. New insight into the systematics and evolution of the Foraminifera. Micropaleontology 59 (6): 493–527.

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