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Temporal range: 488–250 Ma
Receptaculitid from the Ordovician of Estonia.
Scientific classification

Blainville 1830
  • R. arcticus
  • R. articus
  • R. biconstrictus
  • R. monticulatus
  • R. occidentalis

Receptaculites is the name-bearing genus for an extinct group of conspicuous benthic marine genera, the Receptaculitidae, that lived from the Early Ordovician through the Permian period, peaking in the Middle Ordovician. The group's phylogenetic origin has long been obscure, but the current understanding is that the Receptaculitidae were calcareous algae, probably of the Order Dasycladales.[2] Receptaculitids lived in warm, shallow seas[2] and have been described from all continents except Antarctica.[3] In some areas they were important reef-formers, and they also occur as isolated specimens.[4]

Receptaculitid from the Kimmswick Limestone (Middle Ordovician) near Ozora, Missouri.

Receptaculites and its relatives have a double-spiral, radiating pattern of rhombus-shaped plates supported by spindle-like objects called meroms. Fossils can usually be identified by the intersecting patterns of clockwise and counterclockwise rows of plates or stalk spaces, superficially similar to the arrangement of disk florets on a sunflower—hence the common name "sunflower coral" (sic).


  1. ^ "Family: Receptaculitidae". The Paleobiology Database. Retrieved 2011-08-15.
  2. ^ a b Byrnes, J.G. 1968. Notes on the nature and environmental significance of the Receptaculitaceae. Lethaia, vol. 1, p. 368-381.
  3. ^ Rietschel, S. and Nitecki, M.H. 1984. Ordovician Receptaculitid algae from Burma. Palaeontology, vol. 27, p. 415-420.
  4. ^ Pratt, B.R. and Weissenberger, J., 1988. Fore-slope Receptaculitid mounds from the Frasnian of the Rocky Mountains, Alberta. In: Reefs: Canada and adjacent areas, Canadian Society of Petroleum Geologists Memoir 13, p. 510-513.
Receptaculitid in Ordovician Tyndall limestone from Manitoba, Canada.