Sponges of the Permian Upper Capitan Limestone Guadalupe Mountains, New Mexico and Texas


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January 1998


Demosponge "sphinctozoans" and inozoid calcareous sponges are major constituents of the Upper Permian, Upper Capitan Limestone in the Guadalupe Mountains of New Mexico and Texas. Systematic description, taxonomy, and the stratigraphic distribution of these sponges are documented in collections from exposures of the Upper Capitan Limestone in the vicinity of Carlsbad Caverns in New Mexico. The fauna appears diverse on a local scale, but when compared to diversity of assemblages of similar age in Tunisia and in Southern China, the assemblage is species poor, with 34 species of "calcareous" sponges and demosponges. Whether this is a local time or geographic gradient must wait additional investigations of sponge faunas from older parts of the Guadalupian series in the Guadalupe Mountains, as well as in localities southward in Texas and Mexico. Upper Capitan exposures near Carlsbad Caverns are at the northernmost end of the long Delaware Basin that was restricted by the Hovey channel to the south. As a consequence of either that restricted ecologic limitation or a time stratigraphic factor, Late Capitan assemblages are characterized by abundant individuals of only a few endemic species, and by relatively primitive cosmopolitan genera and species that were able to persist beyond the ranges of more specialized forms. Species in the collections include the ceractinomorphid porate "sphinctozoans" Cystothalamia guadalupensis (Girty, 1908a), Amblysiphonella cf. A. merlai Parona, 1933, Amblysiphonella species A, Amblysiphonella species B, Discosiphonella mammilosa (King, 1943), Tristratocoelia rhythmica Senowbari-Daryan and Rigby, 1988, Exaulipora permica (Senowbari-Daryan, 1990), type species of the new genus Exaulipora, Parauvanella minima Senowbari-Daryan, 1990, and Platythalamiella(?) sp., all from the families Sebargasiidae Steinmann, 1882, and Colospongiidae Senowbari-Daryan, 1990. The family Solenolmiidae Engeser, 1986 is represented by the new species Preverticillites parva. Among the ceractinomorphid Aporata, the fa

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Brigham Young University Geology Studies, Vol. 43 (1998).