Fossil Friday 3/25/16: A basket clam


UF 221418, the two valves of the basket clam Caryocorbula stena. Note that the valve with the bore hole is much smaller than the other valve. Photo © IVP FLMNH.

This week’s Fossil Friday feature is the basket clam Caryocorbula stena. This specimen was found in the Gatún Formation and is Late Miocene in age. This bivalve would have been found in shallow marine waters, burrowing just under the surface of the sediment. One interesting characteristic of this basket clam is that it is inequivalve, meaning that one valve is much larger than the other.

To learn more about this bivalve, check out the Fossils of Panama here.


Fossil Friday 3/11/16: A corallum (Flabellum sp.)


UF 8906, the type specimen of Flabellum chipolanum. This specimen is from the Chipola Formation in Florida and is early Miocene in age. Photo © IVP FLMNH.

This week’s Fossil Friday feature is the fossilized corallum, or coral skeleton, of a coral (Phylum Cnidaria, Class Anthozoa) called Flabellum. The fossil in the photograph is from Florida, but a specimen identified as Flabellum sp. (UF 222226) has been recovered in Panama from the Gatún Formation and is middle-late Miocene in age.

Flabellum sp. (Hard coral) with extended polyps at night

A modern day Flabellum sp. Photo © Nick Hobgood, via Wikimedia Commons.



Flabellids (Family Flabellidae) are solitary corals, meaning that they consist of only one polyp with a mouth surrounded by tentacles (colonial corals are made up of several polyps). They are found from the Early Cretaceous up into the present-day. Today, they can be found worldwide.




Cairns, Stephen D. 2002. Flabellidae Bourne 1905. Version 28 October 2002. in The Tree of Life Web Project,

Fossil Friday 12/11/15: a Springvale Cup and Saucer Limpet


UF 214431, a Springvale cup and saucer limpet. (Photo © IVP FLMNH).

This week’s Fossil Friday is the Springvale cup and saucer limpet, Crucibulum springvaleense. This specimen was collected from the Gatún Formation and the mollusc that inhabited it would have been found filter-feeding while attached to rocks in Late Miocene oceans. Although this mollusc looks similar to a limpet, it is not a true limpet and is not closely related.

Fossil Friday 11/6/15: A Venus clam


UF 222942, a valve of the Venus clam Chionopsis tegulum. Photo © IVP FLMNH.

For this week’s Fossil Friday we have a Venus clam (family Veneridae) from the Gatún Formation, Chionopsis tegulum. This Venus clam can be found throughout the Early to Late Miocene (20 million years ago to 9 million years ago). It is only found on the Caribbean side of Panama and not on the Pacific side.

To find out more about this specimen, read the Fossils of Panama page on it here.


Fossil Friday 10/9/15: Fossils from the Gatún Formation!

For this week’s Fossil Friday I am going to send you off to see what invertebrate paleontologists Jonathan Hendricks and Alex Kittle are finding in Panama! They are conducting fieldwork in Panama along with Cristina Robins, Adiël Klompmaker, Roger Portell, Nathan Jud, Chris Nelson and our museum interns! Follow the links below to check out Jonathan Hendricks’ and Alex Kittle’s Twitter accounts and see all of the fossils they have been finding in the Gatún Formation and other localities in Panama!

Jonathan Hendricks:

Alex Kittle:


Fossil Friday 9/11/15: A dove snail


UF 221284, the snail of the dove snail Strombina lessepsiana. Photo © IVP FLMNH.

On this Fossil Friday, I am presenting a dove snail called Strombina lessepsiana, which is a member of the marine snail family Columbellidae. This specimen was collected in the lower Gatún Formation and is late Miocene in age. This little snail was found on both the Pacific and Caribbean sides of Panama and Colombia during the late Miocene. It was an omnivore and would eat macroalgae and live or dead animal material.

To learn more about this dove snail, read the Fossils of Panama entry on it here.

Invertebrate- Silicone Molds

Hi my name is Aly Tucker and I am a new intern and I am studying invertebrates.  I graduated in May 2015 from UF with a B.S. in Geology and am excited for this opportunity.

During the first week, I prepped a numerous amount of specimens from Panama. I was also able to make a couple of silicone molds of gastropods. Silicone molds are beneficial because they give you a nice image of the specimen and can help accentuate details of the specimen that may be hard to see otherwise. Continue reading

Fossil Friday 7/31/15: A sundial snail

UF 220857

A lateral (left) and dorsal (right) view of the shell of the sundial snail Architectonica nobilis. Photo © IVP FLMNH.

The subject of this week’s Fossil Friday is the sundial snail Architectonica nobilis. This particular specimen is late Miocene in age and was found by former PCP PIRE Postdoc Austin Hendy in the lower Gatún Formation. This snail’s earliest occurence is in the early Miocene and can still be found in shallow marine waters today. These animals produce planktonic larvae that can travel great distances.

To find out more about this kind of snail, check out the Fossils of Panama page on it here.

Fossil Friday 7/10/15: A flat sand dollar


UF 2425, the test of Mellita tenuis. This specimen was found in Manatee County, Florida and is from the Late Pleistocene. (Photo © IVP FLMNH)

This Fossil Friday I would like to focus on the genus Mellita, a group of flat sand dollars (Class Echinoidea, Order Clypeasteroida). Members of this genus are restricted to the shores of North and South America, however they are found on both the Atlantic and Pacific sides of the continents. Members of Mellita feed by plowing through the surface of sand and collecting food particles. The split that resulted in two extant species of the genus, M. quinquiesperforata and M. notabilis, can be attributed to the closing of the Isthmus of Panama.

To learn more about the current distribution and phylogeography of this genus, read this paper that includes specimens from Panama.


An extant Mellita longifissa plowing through sand. (Photo © Carolina~commonswik)

Reference: Coppard, S.E., Zigler, K. S., Lessios, H.A. Phylogeography of the sand dollar genus Mellita: Cryptic speciation along the coasts of the Americas. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. (2013). doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2013.05.028

Fossil Friday 6/26/15: A predatory snail

UF 232528 Stigmaulax guppiana, a moon snail

UF 232528, the shell of the moon snail Stigmaulax guppiana. The complete drill hole found on this shell shows that it was the victim of another drilling predator, perhaps even another moon snail. (Photo © IVP FLMNH)

For this rendition of Fossil Friday, we have a predatory snail called Stigmaulax guppiana. Continue reading