Australian Biological Resources Study

Australian Faunal Directory


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Family ONYCHOCELLIDAE Jullien, 1882

Compiler and date details

July 2001 - Dr Philip Bock


The family Onychocellidae was introduced by Jullien in 1882, for several Cretaceous and other genera with Recent and fossil representatives, which included Onychocella and Smittipora (Harmer 1926).

These two genera have autozooids with a well-developed cryptocyst lamina and large opesia. Avicularia are vicarious or interzooidal, and characteristically have a mandible with a central strengthening sclerite bordered by expanded 'wings' of cuticle. In Onychocella the avicularium is unilaterally curved, but in Smittipora the wings are symmetrical. Brooding zooids are slightly dimorphic, with an enlarged opesia and an interior ovisac.

Colonies of Smittipora are usually encrusting, and are often associated with coral and shell in shallow shelf waters. However, d'Hondt (1986) described an erect 'adeoniform' species, S. adeoniformis, from 150-180 metres depth from New Caledonia, northeast from Australia. Other Australian records seem to be confined to those from Queensland listed by Harmer (1926) as Smittipora abyssicola and now referred to S. harmeriana (Winston & Heimberg 1986), and to Micropora abyssicola, described by MacGillivray (1891) from North West Australia, which Harmer referred to Smittipora cordiformis.

Although most species assigned to the Onychocellidae have a tropical to subtropical range, one genus occurs from the Antarctic and subAntarctic. Chondriovelum was introduced by Hayward & Thorpe (1988) for C. adeliense, a species originally referred to Labioporella by Livingstone (1928). C. adeliense has erect, branched colonies, arising from an encrusting base (Hayward 1995). The autozooids are thinly calcified and the large avicularia have symmetrical wings. C. adeliense is endemic to Antarctica, occurring from Queen Mary Land (92°-97°E) and the Australian Antarctic Territory (63°-167°E) from deep shelf to upper slope depths.

Ogivalia was defined by Jullien (1882) for one Recent and 43 fossil species. The Recent species, Ogivalia elegans d'Orbigny, was subsequently selected as the type species by Canu (1911). It is distributed widely in the magellanic subantarctic region, and extends to the southern Indian Ocean.



Colony encrusting, forming sheets, or erect, well calcified. Zooids with distinct cryptocyst lamina, and small opesia. Avicularia interzooidal or vicarious, in patterns among zooids, mandibles often with lateral wings of cuticle. Brooding zooids slightly dimorphic, brooding in internal ovisacs.


History of changes

Note that this list may be incomplete for dates prior to September 2013.
Published As part of group Action Date Action Type Compiler(s)
25-Mar-2014 BRYOZOA Ehrenberg, 1831 25-Mar-2014 MODIFIED Dr Robin Wilson (NMV) Elizabeth Greaves (NMV)
29-Mar-2010 MODIFIED