Acta Palaeontologica Polonica

The ultrastructure of some Ordovician graptoloid prosiculae

Denis E.B. Bates

Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 41 (1), 1996: 39-57

The graptoloid prosicula (conus and cauda) forms the first part of the growing colony, and was probably secreted during a single continuous episode of growth. The wall is composed of a central unit of criss-cross fibrils (fusellar fabric), interlaced with parallel fibrils whose grouping appears as the spiral line (spiral line fabric). The conus is lined with a granular or felted sheet (sheet fabric). The diaphragm, at the apex of the conus, appears to be formed of fusellar fabric. The cauda is formed of fusellar and spiral fabrics with a central cavity apparently not open to the conus interior. An outer layer (diamond mesh fabric) of fibrils forming a diamond mesh covers both conus and cauda, and is itself overlain by longitudinal rods. The apex of the cauda is formed of a second domed diaphragm of criss-cross fibrils, covered by a sheet fabric. The nema is extended distally as a series of finger-shaped increments, overlain by bandages. An outermost layer of clustered fibrils (stellate fabric) is occasionally present, lying on, or formed by a modification of the diamond mesh fibrils of the conus.

Key words: graptoloids, prosiculae, ultrastructure, stellate fabric, secretion.

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