Cretaceous sponges from the Campanian of Misburg and Höver
Ophiraphidites * Carter 1876

Locality: Teutonia, Misburg
Width : 65 mm

Ophiraphidites infundibuliformis

Schrammen 1899

Ophiraphidites species are quite rare at Höver and Misburg, and in the field they are easily overlooked due to their inconspicuous, lumpy shapes.

Ophiraphidites infundibuliformis forms funnel-, cup- or bowl-shaped bodies, with fairly thick walls. Ophiraphidites apparently has no special canals or postica. The specimen shown here has several short roots.

Spicules, After Schrammen (1910)

Spicules of Ophiraphidites infundibuliformis
(After Schrammen 1899)

  • (a) Ohirhabds
  • (b) Triaenes
  • (c) Amphioxes

Locality: Teutonia, Misburg
Height: 115 mm

Ophiraphidites tuberosus

Schrammen 1899

Ophiraphidites tuberosus forms irregular bodies, sometimes with roots as in the example shown here, sometimes directly attached to other sponges.


The genus Ophiraphidites is characterized by peculiar spicules termed ophirhabds. The ophirhabds and oxeas (amphioxes) reach considerable size (5 mm), making them visible to the naked eye, even in unetched specimens, as long as there is sufficient contrast in colouring.

The image to the left shows a section of an etched fragment of Ophiraphidites ?tuberosus.

The next figure shows a selection of typical ophirhabs (same specimen as above), and the third figure shows a typical triaene with unbranched, curved cladomes.

Ophiraphidites may be confused with Pachycothon, whose skeletal elements are termed heloclones. Heloclones resemble zygosed Ophirhabs, i.e. they are rigidly connected to neighboring skeletal elements. As a consequence, heloclones are equipped with hooks, knobs, and molds from adjacent heloclones, whereas ophirhabds are smooth.

Locality: Teutonia, Misburg
Height: 150 mm

Ophiraphidites ramosus

Schrammen 1910

Ophiraphidites ramosus forms branching structures composed of curved cylindrical sections, 20 to 40 mm thick.

*) In the recent edition of the Treatise (Finks et al., 2004) the Family Ophiraphididae is mentioned on p. 176 and 195 in the introductory sections, but a corresponding paragraph "Ophiraphididae" and a description of Ophiraphidites is missing.