Two unusually massive ostreid species, representing the largest and youngest Mesozoic members of their respective lineages, occur in Upper Cretaceous sediment of the gulf coast and Caribbean areas. Their characteristics and significance, as well as the morphologic terminology of ostreids in general, are discussed.
Crassostrea cusseta Sohl and Kauffman n. sp. is the largest known ostreid from Mesozoic rocks of North America; it occurs sporadically in the Cusseta Sand and rarely in the Blufftown Formation of the Chattahoochee River region in Georgia and Alabama. It is especially notable in that it lacks a detectable posterior adductor muscle scar on large adult shells. C. cusseta is the terminal Cretaceous member of the C. soleniscus lineage in gulf coast sediments; the lineage continues, however, with little basic modification, throughout the Cenozoic, being represented in the Eocene by C. gigantissima (Finch) and probably, in modern times, by C. virginica (Gmelin). The C. soleniscus lineage is the first typically modern crassostreid group recognized in the Mesozoic.
Arctostrea aguilerae (Böse) occurs in Late Campanian and Early Maestrichtian sediments of Alabama, Mississippi, Texas(?), Mexico, and Cuba. The mature shell of this species is larger and more massive than that of any other known arctostreid. Arctostrea is well represented throughout the Upper Jurassic and Cretaceous of Europe, but in North America, despite the great numbers and diversity of Cretaceous oysters, only A. aguilerae and the Albian form A. carinata are known. The presence of A. aquilerae in both the Caribbean and gulf coast faunas is exceptional, as the Late Cretaceous faunas of these provinces are generally distinct and originated in different faunal realms.