Article: Filling a gap: the first occurrences of Epiphaxum (Cnidaria: Helioporacea: Lithotelestidae) in the Eocene, Oligocene and Miocene
A new species of the genus Epiphaxum (family Lithotelestidae) is described and illustrated in detail, and compared to other species. Epiphaxum arbuscula sp. nov. has been collected from Upper Eocene (Priabonian), Upper Oligocene (Chattian) and Lower Miocene (Upper Burdigalian) deposits of the Aquitaine Basin, south-west France. Epiphaxum is a poorly documented genus but its fossil record extends back to the Late Cretaceous; it was previously known only from the Paleocene (Danian). Epiphaxum arbuscula differs from all others species of the genus in the form of its colony. In contrast to the creeping colonies of previously known species, it has branched colonies. It is very common at one Upper Oligocene outcrop from which an assemblage with submarine cave remains has been described. A close relationship between the three extant species (two from the Caribbean Sea and one from the Indo-West Pacific region) and the Paleogene species is also noted. These constitute a group that has not undergone any important morphological changes for the last 65 million years.