Carnets Geol. 15 (13)  

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[Introduction] [Pseudohaploceras liptoviense (Zeuschner, 1856)] [Deshayesites sp.]
[Dufrenoyia sp.] [Age assignment] [Conclusions] and ... [Bibliographic references]

Review of some Aptian ammonites collected by Gaston Astre
in Lleida Province, Catalonia, Spain

Josep A. Moreno-Bedmar

Instituto de Geología, Universidad Nacional Autónoma de México, Ciudad Universitaria, Coyoacán, 04510, México, Distrito Federal (Mexico)
Tel.: +52 55 5622 4280 ext. 156

Keith P. Minor

Sovereign Pharmaceuticals, 7590 Sand St., Fort Worth, TX 76118, Texas (United States of America)

Published online in final form (pdf) on August 6, 2015
[Scientific editor: Michel Moullade; technical editor: Bruno Granier; language editor: Stephen Carey]

Click here to download the PDF version!


We study the three best preserved ammonites collected by Astre in 1924-1925 in Lleida Province, Catalonia, Spain, in order to assess their taxonomic assignment. We also include images of these ammonoids since they were not illustrated in Astre's original 1934 work. This taxonomic review allows us to identify these lower Aptian ammonites as Pseudohaploceras liptoviense, Deshayesites sp. and Dufrenoyia sp.


Ammonites; Astre; Aptian; Catalonia; Spain.


Moreno-Bedmar J.A. & Minor K.P. (2015).- Review of some Aptian ammonites collected by Gaston Astre in Lleida Province, Catalonia, Spain.- Carnets Geol., Madrid, vol. 15, nº 13, p. 173-178.


Révision de quelques ammonites aptiennes récoltées par Gaston Astre dans la Province de Lérida (Catalogne, Espagne).- Nous avons étudié les trois ammonites les mieux préservées parmi celles récoltées par Astre en 1924-1925 dans la Province de Lérida (Catalogne, Espagne) afin d'en ré-évaluer plus sûrement l'attribution taxinomique. Nous figurons ces ammonoïdés puisqu'il n'y avait aucune illustration dans la publication originale de Astre en 1934. Ce ré-examen taxinomique nous permet d'attribuer ces trois ammonites de l'Aptien inférieur à Pseudohaploceras liptoviense, Deshayesites sp. et Dufrenoyia sp.


Ammonites ; Astre ; Aptien ; Catalogne ; Espagne.


Revisión de algunos ammonites aptienses colectados por Gaston Astre en la Provincia de Lérida, Cataluña, España.- Se estudian los tres ammonites mejor conservados colectados por Astre en 1924-1925 en la Provincia de Lérida, Cataluña, España, con la finalidad de mejorar su asignación taxonómica. También incluimos imágenes de estos ammonites ya que no se figuraron en el trabajo original de Astre, 1934. Esta revisión taxonómica nos permite identificar los ammonites del Aptiense inferior: Pseudohaploceras liptoviense, Deshayesites sp. y Dufrenoyia sp.

Palabras clave

Ammonites; Astre; Aptiense; Cataluña; España.


Revisió d'alguns ammonits aptians recollits per Gaston Astre a la Província de Lleida, Catalunya, Espanya.- S'estudien els tres ammonits millor conservats recollits per Astre en 1924-1925 a la Província de Lleida, Catalunya, Espanya, per tal d'avaluar la seva assignació taxonòmica. També s'inclouen imatges d'aquests ammonits ja que no s'il·lustren en l'obra original d'Astre del 1934. Aquesta revisió taxonòmica ens permet identificar aquests ammonits de l'Aptià inferior com: Pseudohaploceras liptoviense, Deshayesites sp. i Dufrenoyia sp.

Paraules clau

Ammonits; Astre; Aptià; Catalunya; Espanya.


In 1922, under the supervision of Charles Jacob and Paul Fallot, Gaston Astre began his doctoral studies of the geology along the south side of the Pyrenees (Bilotte, 2010, p. 66; Bilotte & Aragonès, 2010, p. 28). During his field work in 1924 and 1925, he found some Aptian ammonites in the Segre River region, Lleida Province, Catalonia. Although he never completed his PhD (Bilotte, 2010, p. 66), in 1934 he published a short paper describing two of these ammonites. However, he did not include any illustrations or figures to accompany his detailed descriptions and comparisons with closely related taxa. Fortunately, these specimens are still housed in the collections of the Université Paul Sabatier of Toulouse, France (= UPS collection). We were able to locate Astre's published material, as well as two additional unpublished specimens. In this work, we review these four ammonites, three of which are illustrated for the first time. Our reexamination of these ammonites sheds light on the work of Astre (1934) and contributes to the general knowledge of the Aptian ammonites of Catalonia. Recently in one area of Lleida Province, the Organyà Basin, the stratigraphy, sedimentology and geochemical record of the uppermost Barremian-lowermost Aptian hemipelagic sediments has been investigated (Sanchez-Hernandez & Maurrasse, 2014; Sanchez-Hernandez et al., 2014). The current study of the ammonoid record will be useful in establishing a precise age determination of these hemipelagic sediments. It is part of a broader examination of the ammonoid record of the uppermost Barremian-Aptian of Lleida Province.  

Pseudohaploceras liptoviense (Zeuschner, 1856) (= Puzosia liptoviensis Zeuschner.- Astre, 1934, p. 221)

Astre (1934, p. 223) identified the first specimen as Puzosia liptoviensis (Fig. 1.A , UPS-GA1934-01-BP-7), collected in 1924 by Astre himself between Gosol and la Collada de Molas. This taxon is currently assigned to the genus Pseudohaploceras as Pseudohaploceras liptoviense (Zeuschner, 1856). P. liptoviense has a distinctive rib pattern that consists of small, flexuous, fold-like primary and secondary ribs, interrupted at irregular intervals by bifurcations and much larger primaries that are frequently paired with constrictions (see Wright et al., 1996, Fig. 52, 3a). In P. liptoviense, the larger primaries are often strongly pronounced towards the umbilicus, especially on the juvenile whorls (Busnardo & Granier, 2011, Pl. 1, figs. 1-5). Due to the poor preservation of the specimen, its identification is difficult. However, Astre's original assignment seems to be correct. The irregularity in the rib pattern separates P. liptoviense from other similar species, such as P. matheroni (Orbigny, 1841), which has a more regular rib pattern, consisting of groups of 8-14 finer ribs, interrupted by larger, cord-like primaries. In P. matheroni, these larger ribs are frequently paired with one wide and one narrow constriction on each side. The robust costation of the specimen studied here also allows us to distinguish Astre's specimen from the more weakly ornamented P. douvillei (Fallot, 1920) (see: Delanoy, 1992, Pl. 4, figs. 1-6; Gauthier et al., 2006, p. 53-54). P. ramosum (Bogdanova, 1991) is a more closely related taxon that belongs to the P. liptoviense group (Bogdanova & Hoedemaker, 2004). The differences between the two taxa are subtle, P. ramosum having fewer secondary ribs and thicker whorls. Another species that shows some similarities is "Pseudohaploceras" angladei (Sayn, 1890) but this ammonite has a thicker whorl section, which may even be depressed, and probably belongs to the genus Valdedorsella.

Fig. 1
Click on thumbnail to enlarge the image.

Figure 1: A. Pseudohaploceras liptoviense (Zeuschner, 1856) (= Puzosia liptoviensis Zeuschner.- Astre, 1934), lateral view of UPS-GA1934-01-BP-7. B. Deshayesites sp. (= Ammonitoceras cf. Lahuseni Sinzow.- Astre, 1934), lateral view of UPS-GA1934-02. C. Dufrenoyia sp. (Parahoplites furcatus Sowerby (Type Dufrenoyi).- Astre's specimen label), lateral view of UPS-GA1934-03. Scale bar is 10 mm.

Deshayesites sp. (= Ammonitoceras cf. Lahuseni Sinzow.- Astre, 1934, p. 223)

Astre's specimen (Fig. 1.B , UPS-GA1934-02) is a fragment of a large shell. Astre (1934, p. 223) wrote that this fragment is 17 cm long and 9 cm high and suggested that the ammonite could have been as large as 30-40 cm in diameter. The fragmentary ammonite has a tall, elliptical whorl section with a rounded ventral region (Fig. 2.A ). The costation consists of slightly sigmoidal primary ribs, accompanied by scarce secondary ribs that can be intercalated or bifurcated about the middle of the flank.

Ammonitoceras lahuseni has a circular to depressed whorl section as does any other species of Ammonitoceras (Wright et al., 1996, p. 221; Delanoy & Conte, 2011, Figs. 1-2). This important feature allowed us to rule out the assignment of the fragmentary specimen to the genus Ammonitoceras. Astre commented on this apparent difference, comparing the whorl section of his specimen to those of Ammonitoceras ucetiae Dumas, 1876, which were collected in Santander, Cantabria, northern Spain by Mengaud (1920, p. 140) and identified by Wilfrid Kilian. Astre (1934) commented that the whorl section of this specimen is very similar to that of Mengaud's material. However, we also have access to two gypsum casts of Mengaud's specimens. One of them is slightly crushed, having a whorl section similar to Astre's specimen, but the second uncrushed specimen clearly has a circular whorl section. In our opinion, Astre's specimen is not crushed, and its whorl section matches that of Deshayesites but certainly not that of Ammonitoceras (Fig. 2 ). The rib pattern of the ammonoid studied here is consistent with the ontogenic development of Deshayesites, where the progressive loss of secondary ribs and slight straightening of both the primaries and the secondaries are particularly characteristic of the adult macroconch specimens (Casey, 1964, Pl. 43, fig. 1a, and Pl. 54, fig. 1a; Moreno-Bedmar et al., 2010, electronic appendix Fig. VC). In addition the large size of the fragment suggests that it belongs to an adult macroconch of Deshayesites. Based on the weight of evidence, we conclude that this ammonite is a fragment of an adult macroconch of Deshayesites, which we report here as Deshayesites sp., since there is not enough information to make a specific determination.

Fig. 2
Click on thumbnail to enlarge the image.

Figure 2: A. Whorl section of Deshayesites sp. (= Ammonitoceras cf. Lahuseni Sinzow.- Astre, 1934), specimen UPS-GA1934-02. B. Whorl section of the holotype of Ammonitoceras ucetiae Dumas, 1876, type species of the genus Ammonitoceras. Modified from Figure 2 of Delanoy and Conte (2011). Scale bar is 10 mm.

Dufrenoyia sp. (= Parahoplites furcatus Sowerby (Type Dufrenoyi).- Astre's specimen label)

At the end of his paper, Astre (1934, p. 225) wrote that he also found better known and arguably less important species of cephalopods in Lleida Province, including ammonites similar to Parahoplites furcatus and Parahoplites dufrenoyi (= Dufrenoyia spp.). We have found another partially crushed specimen at Organyà, Lleida Province (Fig. 1.C , UPS-GA1934-03), the third one examined here, labeled as "Parahoplites furcatus Sowerby (Type Dufrenoyi)" (Fig. 3 ). The ornamentation of this specimen consists of paired sigmoidal primary and secondary ribs (Fig. 1.C ), which are typical of the rib pattern of Dufrenoyia.  However, an abrupt thinning of the whorl is also present along the last third of the flank and ventral margin, which is typical of crushed specimens of Dufrenoyia. We therefore conclude that this is a specimen of Dufrenoyia. This genus is characterized by a costal section with a flat venter and by the interruption of the ribs across the midline in early ontogenetic stages. The more common European species Dufrenoyia furcata (Sowerby, 1836) and Dufrenoyia dufrenoyi (Orbigny, 1840), can be distinguished because in D. furcata the ribs cross the venter earlier during ontogenic development (García & Moreno-Bedmar, 2010). Since the venter of UPS-GA1934-03 is not preserved well enough to make a specific determination, we report it here as Dufrenoyia sp.

In the UPS Collection we also found a very small pyritic specimen (6 mm max. diam.) without ribs that was labeled as "Parahoplites furcatus". In our opinion, it is impossible to identify this ammonite, even at the generic level.

Fig. 3
Click on thumbnail to enlarge the image.

Figure 3: Original label of Dufrenoyia sp., UPS-GA1934-03.

Age assignment

Deshayesites and Dufrenoyia are index genera of the lower Aptian. Deshayesites ranges through almost all of the lower Aptian, except the uppermost part, at which point the genus Dufrenoyia first appears and replaces Deshayesites. The specimen of Deshayesites sp. collected by Astre is too poorly preserved to place it securely within the biostratigraphical divisions founded on genus Deshayesites within the lower Aptian.

Dufrenoyia, in turn, characterizes the Dufrenoyia furcata Zone and disappears at the lower-upper Aptian transition. Astre (1934, p. 221) reported his Pseudohaploceras liptoviense from the Gargasian, an old term that has an ambiguous chronostratigraphic meaning today, but which encompasses strata of the uppermost lower Aptian to the lowermost upper Aptian in southeast France. This age corresponds to the Dufrenoyia furcata (lower Aptian) and Epicheloniceras martini (upper Aptian) ammonite zones of the standard ammonite zonation of Reboulet et al. (2011, 2014). However, Pseudohaploceras disappears at the lower-upper Aptian transition, and is succeeded by the upper Aptian desmoceratid Caseyella (Moreno-Bedmar et al., 2012). We conclude then that all of Astre's specimens reviewed here are lower Aptian without further refinement.


Our review of the three best preserved specimens collected by Astre in 1924-1925 allows us to identify and illustrate for the first time the ammonoid taxa, Pseudohaploceras liptoviense, Deshayesites sp. and Dufrenoyia sp., all of which are early Aptian in age.

This contribution will facilitate continuing study of the Aptian ammonoid record of the Lleida Province.


We appreciated the assistance provided by Michel Bilotte and access to facilities granted by the UPS to review the ammonites housed in the Université Paul Sabatier of Toulouse, as well as their help in obtaining certain references. We are very grateful for the helpful corrections and suggestions made by Miguel Company, Gérard Delanoy, Antoine Pictet and Yves Dutour. We are also very grateful to the Language Editor, Stephen Carey, for his corrections that permitted significant improvements to the manuscript.

Bibliographic references

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