: a genus (sometimes made the type of the family Zaphrentidae) of solitary cup-shaped tetracorals that are common in Paleozoic formations and have numerous septa radiating from a deep pit in one side of the cup

Word History


borrowed from New Latin, alteration of earlier Zaphrenthis, a subgeneric name, of unknown origin

Note: The taxon Zaphrentis was introduced as a genus name by the French paleontologist Jules Haime (1824-56), apparently earliest in a list by Haime appended to “Notes sur les fossiles dévoniens du district de Sabero (León),” by Édouard de Verneuil, in Bulletin de la Société géologique de France, 2. série, tome 7 (1849-50), p. 161. The name is a misspelling of a subgeneric name Zaphrenthis first used by Constantine Samuel Rafinesque and John D. Clifford in “Prodrome d’une monographie des turbinolies fossiles du Kentucky,” Annales générales des sciences physiques (Brussels), tome 5 (1820), p. 234. Like many of the hundreds of taxa introduced by the eccentric French polymath Rafinesque (1783-1840), the name is not elucidated by the authors and its etymology is obscure.

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Cite this Entry

“Zaphrentis.” Dictionary, Merriam-Webster, Accessed 15 Jun. 2024.

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