, DECEMBER 2011, 62, 6, 575—578 doi: 10.2478/v10096-011-0041-8
(Douvillé, 1916) a peculiar
Barremian ammonite (Desmoceratoidea, Barremitinae)
from Northern Sinai (Egypt)
LUC GEORGES BULOT
, JEAN-LOUIS LATIL
, JEAN VERMEULEN
and MOHAMED FOUAD ALY
EA 4234, Laboratoire de Géologie des Syst
mes et des Réservoirs Carbonatés, Centre de Sédimentologie-Paléontologie, case 67,
3 place Victor Hugo, Université de Provence, F-13331 Marseille Cedex, France; email@example.com
Le Maupas, 05300 Lazer, France; firstname.lastname@example.org
Grand rue, 04330, Barr
me, France; email@example.com
Geology Department, Faculty of Sciences, Cairo University, Cairo, Egypt; firstname.lastname@example.org
(Manuscript received July 14, 2011; accepted in revised form November 7, 2011)
Abstract: The type material of the poorly known and monotypic genus Mogharaeceras is revised. Relationship with
Pulchelliidae, Engonoceratidae and Barremitinae are discussed. All the available evidence suggests that Mogharaeceras
is an offshoot of Barremitites and that it should be classified in the Barremitinae. New material from Egypt allows us to
establish the Late Barremian age of this taxon.
Key words: Cretaceous, Upper Barremian, Egypt, Sinai, paleontology, Barremitinae, Ammonitina.
Since the early monographic work of Douvillé (1916), a limit-
ed number of paleontological studies have been published on
the Lower Cretaceous ammonites of Northern Sinai. Most re-
cent authors have concentrated efforts on the Late Aptian and
Albian part of the successions (Aly & Abdel-Gawad 2001;
Aly 2006, with references). The Barremian and Lower Aptian
faunas are in need of a revision. Among the material de-
scribed by Douvillé (1916), Knemiceras priscum, type species
of the genus Mogharaeceras Breistroffer, 1940, remains a
poorly understood species whose systematic position and age
are uncertain. Access to Douvillé’s original material and a
new finding published by Abu-Zied (2008) allow a revision
of the taxonomy of Mogharaeceras priscum.
Conventions: All dimensions of specimens are given in
millimeters: Dmax = larger measurable diameter, D = diame-
ter, Wb = whorl breadth, Wh = whorl height, U = umbilical
diameter. Figures in parentheses are dimensions as a percent-
age of the diameter at the point of measurement.
The suture terminology is that of Korn et al. (2003): E = ex-
ternal lobe; A = adventive lobe; U = umbilical lobe, I = inter-
The following acronyms are used to indicate the reposito-
ries of specimens mentioned in the text: FSL – Ecole des
Mines now housed at Université Claude Bernard, Lyon;
MNHNP – Collections de la Sorbonne, Université Pierre et
Marie Curie, Paris VI, now housed at the Muséum National
d’Histoire Naturelle, Paris.
Superfamily: Desmoceratoidea Zittel, 1895
Family: Desmoceratidae Zittel, 1895
Subfamily: Barremitinae Breskovski, 1977
Genus: Mogharaeceras Breistroffer, 1940
T y p e s p e c i e s : Mogharaeceras priscum (Douvillé, 1916),
by original designation of Breistroffer (1940).
O r i g i n o f t h e n a m e : From Gabal Maghara, type local-
ity of the original material.
D i a g n o s i s : Small ammonites. Shell discoidal and invo-
lute. Whorl section subogival. Ventral area narrow, slightly
grooved, bicarenate. Umbilicus small, with abrupt wall, almost
carenate umbilical edge. Flanks convex. Surface smooth except
for irregular flexuous striae and feeble flat costae. Suture sim-
ple marked by a lateral lobe divided by a very narrow and high
saddle. This saddle is trifid and dissymmetric.
C o n t e n t : As herein understood, the genus Mogharaeceras
S t r a t i g r a p h i c d i s t r i b u t i o n : Despite the recent illus-
tration of the fauna associated with M. priscum at El Tourku-
manyia section (Gabal Lagama) (Abu-Zied 2008), the precise
age of the species remains poorly constrained. The assem-
blage from bed 25 includes Barremites sp. [ = Barremites diffi-
cilis d’Orb., fig. 5, N—Q, in Abu-Zied 2008], Hemihoplitidae
gen. and sp. nov. [ = Paracrioceras hammatoptychum (Uhlig),
fig. 8, C—F in Abu-Zied 2008] and a fragment of heteromorph
too poorly preserved for specific identification. The rest of the
BULOT, LATIL, VERMEULEN and ALY
GEOLOGICA CARPATHICA, 2011, 62, 6, 575—578
fauna is either not illustrated or composed of stratigraphically
non significant Lytoceratidae. This view is confirmed by the
occurrence, at a slightly higher level (bed 33) of a single
Colchidites sp. (Abu-Zied 2008: fig. 8, L—N). In our opinion,
and if the specimen is not affected by post-mortem distortion,
this specimen should rather be identified as Kutatissites sp. and
indicate a level close to the Barremian/Aptian boundary. It
should also be noted that Abu-Zied (2008: fig. 8, I—J) reported
Acrioceras zulu Klinger & Kennedy, 1992 from a slightly
lower level (bed 22). The specimen illustrated superficially
matches the finely ribbed South African forms (Klinger &
Kennedy 1992: p. 111, fig. 26) but is too worn and fragmen-
tary to assume identification. In any case, the Early Aptian
age generally accepted for Mogharaeceras (Wright et al.
1996) must be dismissed, and its Late Barremian age is now
retained. By comparison with the successions of the western
Tethys, this assemblage indicates the Late Barremian and
most likely a level between the Gerhardtia sartousiana Zone
and the Imerites giraudi Zone sensu Reboulet et al. (2009).
G e o g r a p h i c a l d i s t r i b u t i o n : The genus was never re-
ported outside Northern Sinai (Gabal Lagama).
S y s t e m a t i c p o s i t i o n : When introduced, Knemiceras
priscum was classified as a Pulchelliidae sensu Douvillé
(1890). In its original concept, this family grouped all the
Cretaceous genera characterized by a suture with wide, shallow
and feebly denticulate elements. Since this family was emended
(Vermeulen 2003), it is now understood as a phylletic lineage
that ranges from the base of the Upper Hauterivian (Subsaynella
sayni Zone) to the middle part of the Upper Barremian
(Gerhardtia sartousiana Zone). Despite the revision of the
Pulchelliidae, M. priscum was rarely mentioned in the litera-
ture. It was usually maintained in the Pulchelliidae. This is the
case of Wright et al. (1996) who consider Mogharaeceras as a
younger subjective synonym of Subpulchellia Hyatt, 1903. In
contrast to previous authors, Vermeulen & Klein (2006) con-
sider M. priscum as a primitive member of the Engonoceratidae
Hyatt, 1900 of uncertain origin.
The concept of Subpulchellia has evolved since its introduc-
tion by Hyatt (1903). As herein understood, it is restricted to
Subpulchellia oehlerti (Nickles, 1894) [with Subpulchellia cas-
tellanensis Hyatt, 1903 as a junior synonym] and Subpulchellia
argoti Vermeulen, 1999. Subpulchellia oehlerti shows superfi-
cial similarities with Mogharaeceras but differs in its fascicu-
late ribs that develop in ventrolateral clavi – a feature that is
unknown in Mogharaeceras. Moreover, the steep wall with
sharp umbilical seam of Mogharaeceras is not represented in
Most species formerly included by authors in Subpulchellia
were transferred since to Kotetishvilla by Vermeulen (1997,
2003). As a matter of fact, the general morphology and orna-
mental features of M. priscum show similarities with species of
Kotetishvilla Vermeulen, 1997 such as Kotetishvilla sauvagei
(Hermite, 1879). Nevertheless, there are significant differences
that distinguish Mogharaeceras from any species of Kotetishvilla:
the whorl section is more ogival, the venter is larger and more
concave, the external falcate ribs are less prorsiradiate and reg-
ularly spaced, and the umbilicus is always larger. Moreover, M.
priscum is characterized by its steep umbilical wall, sharp um-
bilical edge and intercalary ribs that are unknown in Kotetish-
villa. The suture, though simplified in both genera, does not
show the same number of saddles and the first lateral saddle is
more asymmetrical in Mogharaeceras. Because of the differ-
ences listed above, Mogharaeceras cannot be included in the
Pulchelliidae and its synonymy with Subpulchellia is rejected.
The classification in the Engonoceratidae proposed by Ver-
meulen & Klein (2006) cannot be accepted either. It should
first be noted that it is now established that the age of the older
Engonoceratidae is now well established as (?) topmost Aptian to
basal Albian (Bulot 2010; Latil 2011). Even if the origin of
Engonoceratidae remains unknown, none of the known Aptian
ammonites link Mogharaeceras with the first Parengonoceras
Spath, 1924 ( = Platiknemiceras Bataller, 1954) and Knemiceras
Böhm, 1898 of the Iberian Plate, Arabian Plate, and southern
margin of the Tethys (Egypt, Tunisia and Algeria).
From a morphological point of view Mogharaeceras shows
superficial similarities to Parengonoceras. The feebly orna-
mented Parengonoceras species, such as Parengonoceras
bassei (Bataller, 1954), differ mainly by their early whorls
with subtriangular whorl section and flat sides, indistinct flex-
uous ribs and suture line that is typically engonoceratid with
frilled bifid saddles.
Among the Late Barremian genera (Gerhardtia sartousiana
Zone and above), Mogharaeceras shows similarities with
some Barremitinae, such as Barremitites of the strettostoma
(Uhlig, 1883) group. The two genera share the same type of
ogival whorl section, involute umbilicus, steep umbilical wall
and sharp umbilical edge, and ribbing. The main differences
concern the shape of the venter and the suture line. Many
specimens of the Barremitites strettostoma group show a nar-
row ventral area that is similar to that of Mogharaeceras at a
younger stage. Development of a bicarenate concave venter
from a sharp flat venter is not uncommon in Cretaceous am-
monites and has already been observed in Oosterellidae
(Company, 1987) and Pulchelliidae (Vermeulen, 2003). The
additional saddle in Mogharaeceras priscum could have
evolved from the distinctive small adjacent saddle that marks
the internal side of the first lateral saddle of the Barremitinae
complex suture line. Additionally, Avram (1997) showed the
existence of specimens with simplified suture line in the
Barremitites strettostoma group. As a consequence, we sug-
gest that Mogharaeceras should be included in the Barremitinae
and is most likely an offshoot of Barremitites.
Mogharaeceras priscum Douvillé, 1916
1916 Knemiceras priscum nov. sp., Douvillé, pl. 16, fig. 7a—b, 8a—b;
text-figs. 36, 37
1996 Subpulchellia prisca (Douvillé) – Wright et al., Fig. 85, 4a—c;
(reproduction of Douvillé, 1916, pl. 16, fig. 7a—b)
2008 Subpulchellia oehlerti (Nickl
s) – Abu-Zied, figs. 2Q, 6P—Q
L e c t o t y p e : Knemiceras priscum Douvillé, 1916, pl. 16,
fig. 7a—b, herein designated.
T y p e l o c a l i t y : Bir Lagama, Gabal Maghara, Northern
M a t e r i a l : 5 specimens
(FSL.EM1871), all from the original collection studied by
D i a g n o s i s : Small to middle size, discoidal, involute am-
monites with convex flanks. Subogival whorl section truncat-
MOGHARAECERAS PRISCUM (DOUVILLÉ, 1916) A PECULIAR BARREMIAN AMMONITE FROM SINAI (EGYPT)
GEOLOGICA CARPATHICA, 2011, 62, 6, 575—578
Fig. 3. 1—4 – FSL.EM1871, the lectotype, Bir Lagama, Sinai, Bartoux collection. 5—8 – FSL.EM1870, paralectotype, Bir Lagama, Sinai,
Bartoux collection. 9—12 – MNHNP.J10143, paralectotype, Bir Lagama, Sinai, Bartoux collection. 13—14 – MNHNP.J10144, paralectotype,
Bir Lagama, Sinai, Bartoux collection. 15—17 – MNHNP.J10145, paralectotype, Bir Lagama, Sinai, Bartoux collection.
ed on the venter. Ventral area bicarenate and grooved. Umbi-
licus small, with abrupt wall, almost carenate umbilical edge.
Composite ornamentation of flexuous striae and feeble flat
costae. All costae and striae show a marked bending on the
outer part of the flank while the primaries flatten. Uppermost
part of the flank almost smooth. Suture simple marked by a
lateral lobe divided by a very narrow and high saddle. This
saddle is trifid and dissymmetric.
D e s c r i p t i o n : The lectotype FSL.EM1871 is the larger
specimen at our disposal (Dmax = 73 mm) (Fig. 3.1). It is an
adult specimen with the body chamber. On the body chamber
the whorl section is clearly ogival with the larger whorl breadth
on the lower quarter of the flanks. The venter is narrow, bi-
carenate and clearly grooved. Ornamentation raises just above
the umbilical area. It remains straight and prorsiradiate until the
middle of the flanks. On the lower part of the flank, the striae
and costae are dense, low, and poorly marked. Some are single,
others are bifurcate or fasciculate. All shows a concave arc at
about mid flank, bending backward first, then forward. Some of
the costae get stouter and could almost be regarded as primary
ribs. They show a distinct flattening that fades progressively to-
66.0 39.0 (0.59) 18.0 (0.27) 4.9 (0.07)
24.0 12.8 (0.53) 6.5 (0.27)
25.2 14.7 (0.58) 7.3 (0.29)
18.5 9.8 (0.53)
15.2 8.1 (0.53)
2 last sutures at
D = 15 mm.
last sutures at
D = 9.2 mm.
BULOT, LATIL, VERMEULEN and ALY
GEOLOGICA CARPATHICA, 2011, 62, 6, 575—578
ward the upper part of the flank. On the last half whorl of the
shell, there are 15 of those primary costae. The intercalary
striae are minute and their number varies from 1 to 3 between
two successive costae. The suture (Figs. 1, 2) is conform to the
figures of Douvillé (1916: figs. 36, 37). The lateral lobe is di-
vided in two parts (l’v et I’d in Douvillé 1916) separated by a
high, narrow, trifid and dissymmetric saddle.
The remaining specimens allow a better understanding of
the ontogenetic and intraspecific variation of the species. The
younger stages, until D = 5 mm, are smooth and truncation of
the venter seems to occur on the earliest growth stages
(Fig. 3.15—17). The appearance of the flat principal costae var-
ies from one specimen to the other (5 to 10 mm) (Fig. 3.5—17).
This is also the case of the strength and density of ornamenta-
tion. Slight variation of the whorls and ventral breadth can
also be observed.
D i s c u s s i o n : Since its original description by Douvillé
(1916), no new specimen of Mogharaeceras priscum was de-
scribed or illustrated under that name in the literature. Most
recently, Abu-Zied (2008: figs. 2Q, 6P—Q) illustrated a single
specimen of what he believed to be Subpulchellia oehlerti.
Comparison with the material at our disposal (MNHNP.J10143
and 10144) leaves no doubt that Abu-Zied’s specimen is con-
specific with Mogharaeceras priscum.
S t r a t i g r a p h i c d i s t r i b u t i o n : Upper Barremian (in-
terval between the Gerhardtia sartousiana Zone and the
Imerites giraudi Zone sensu Reboulet et al., 2009).
G e o g r a p h i c d i s t r i b u t i o n : As for the genus, Northern
Sinai (Gabal Lagama, Maghara area).
Acknowledgments: We thank Isabelle Rouget (Paris) and
Abel Prieur (Lyon) for allowing one of us (JLL) to access the
collections in their charge. Eugen Gradinaru (Bucharest) and
Didier Bert (La Mure, France) are gratefully acknowledged
by one of us (LGB) for supplying literature. We also wish to
thank William Wimbledon (Bristol) for improving the original
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