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The ostracode genus Krithe is one of the most common genera in the Upper Cretaceous (late Santonian to Maastrichtian) deposits of the northern Gulf Coastal Plain of North America. Although it is never abundant, the genus occurs in sediments that were deposited under a wide range of palaeoenvironments, including nearshore sandy marls to offshore, nearly pure, chalk. The taxonomy of this taxon has been problematical, and what is herein considered to be a single species, K. cushmani, has been referred to in the literature under five different names. Two morphotypes were observed: relatively large individuals with 'mushroom'-shaped vestibules collected from chalk, and smaller individuals with pocket-shaped vestibules collected from nearshore deposits. Species of Krithe have been hypothesized to be useful in estimating dissolved oxygen concentration in ancient ocean floors, based on details of their morphology. Whereas the relationship between size and environment corroborates with previous predictions (larger individuals live in deeper water), the morphology of the vestibules contradicts predictions (the larger vestibules occur in the nearshore deposits and the smaller, more constricted vestibules occur in the chalk). A causal relationship between environment and morphology is discussed.
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The genus Krithe (Ostracoda) from the Campanian and Maastrichtian (Upper Cretaceous) of the northern US Gulf Coastal Plain