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Heliolitine corals of the upper Douro Formation (Upper Silurian), Canadian Arctic Islands

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  20 May 2016

Owen A. Dixon*
Department of Geology, University of Ottawa and Ottawa-Carleton Geoscience Centre, Ottawa K1N 6N5, Canada


Heliolitine corals are closely associated with lithistid sponge-dominated reef mounds in Ludlow carbonate ramp facies on Somerset Island. The corals occur abundantly in argillaceous, fossiliferous wackestone immediately flanking and capping the reef mounds, less commonly in calcilutite mudstone within the reef mounds, and with sharply decreasing abundance in nodular argillaceous wackestone to mudstone away from the reef mounds. Exhaustive field collection, and systematic study that included biometric analysis of collected assemblages, indicates that ten heliolitine species are present, including the new species Heliolites furyi, H. garnieri, and H. greineri, and two unidentified species, Heliolites sp. A, and Podollites? sp. The occurrence of H. subdecipiens Klaamann, 1984, H. tchernyshevi Bondarenko, 1966, H. cf. H. rariformis Tchi, 1976, Stelliporella cf. S. podolica Bondarenko, 1971, and Squameolites anomalus Tchi, 1976 indicates an affinity with Eurasian rather than North American faunas of equivalent age. Many new species have been ascribed to Stelliporella since the mid-1970s; most lack the diagnostic axial structures of the genus and are more appropriately regarded as belonging to Heliolites. Newly defined structures termed septal florets occur commonly in H. garnieri and very rarely in three other species of Heliolites. Effective taxonomic use of septal development requires very careful study because of the degree of intraspecific and intracolony variation in some species.

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