Ordovician – Devonian
Monticuliporidae is an extinct family of colonial epifaunal suspension feeders
Description of the Family
- Generally contains regularly-spaced monticules
- Zoarium with multiple forms (incrusting, ramouse, frondescent, bifoliate, or massive)
- Zooecial tubes typically have incomplete curved partitions (cystiphragms)
- Straight diaphragms
- Polygonal apertures
Elias & Condra (1957):
- Discounting some statements made by Waagen and Wentzel contrasting the wall structure in Monticuliporidae (believed by them to be corals) with that in other Bryozoa, most of their observations about Monticuliporidae are acceptable. “The secondary thickenings are always composed of successive reversal conical layers of sclerenchyma, as has been observed already by Nicholson;” and furthermore, “the reversal conical layers … are again themselves composed of little fibers, which extend parallel to the layers” (Waagen and Wentzel, 1887, p. 864-865). They also correctly observe that in the sclerenchyma of Monticuliporidae there are no “capillary tubes by which the walls of the Bryozoa seem always to be pierced in great numbers” (p. 863), a statement apparently based on observations of some fenestrate Cryptostomata of the Salt Range, although only when describing Thamniscus serialis do they state that “the non-poriferous side is … pierced at intervals by very small pores” (p. 810).
Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology, Part G (1953)
- Zoarium incrusting, ramouse, frondescent, bifoliate, or massive; generally with regularly spaced monticules. Zooecial tubes characterized by presence of incomplete curved partitions (cystiphragms) in addition to straight diaphragms; apertures polygonal. Acanthopores and angular mesopores with numerous diaphragms commonly present.
- The most important characteristic of this family, as emended by Ulrich, is the occurrence of the convex plates known as the cystiphragm. These curved structures are limited to the zooecial tubes, where they form continuous series lining the walls. In most of the genera the curve is complete, but in Orbignyella and Mesotrypa the cystiphragms are often so slightly curved that they have the appearance of being merely oblique diaphragms. The use of the cystiphragms is not known, but it is possible that they represent ovicells.
- The method of zoarial growth in the family varies from incrusting through lamellate, massive, and ramose, to bifoliate, intertwining fronds. It is noteworthy that the massive, free forms of Prasopora, the bifoliate forms Peronopora, and the delicate incrusting zoaria of Atactoporella, all of which are very abundant in certain faunas of the North American Ordovician, should be entirely absent in the Russian deposits.