The Upper Pliocene Hopegate Formation has been the least attractive limestone unit for paleontological investigation in the Cenozoic of Jamaica due to its extreme lithification and dolomitization, despite the scientific appeal of it being a rare example of a Pliocene raised reef in the Caribbean. Preservation of invertebrate macrofossils is commonly moldic. Hitherto, few named macrofossils from the unit have been published. New and extensive exposures of the Hopegate Formation have become available since 2002 as the main north coast road has been re-engineered in central north Jamaica. Echinoids were previously unknown from this formation, but at least seven taxa are now recognized, namely, Eucidaris tribuloides (Lamarck), Echinometra viridis A. Agassiz, regular echinoids spp. indet., Echinoneus sp. cf. E. cyclostomus Leske, Schizaster sp. cf. S. doederleini (Chesher), Meoma? sp. and Brissus sp. cf. B. unicolor (Leske). The identifiable genera are typical of modern shallow water environments of the Caribbean. With the exception of Meoma? and Brissus, these nominal genera have also been identified from the coeval Bowden Formation, a deeper water deposit with a mixed allochthonous/autochthonous echinoderm fauna. In contrast to the Bowden Formation, which has yielded numerous fragmentary, but well preserved, echinoderm specimens, the Hopegate Formation has yielded only rare, poorly preserved echinoid tests and rarer fragments.
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Vol. 47 • No. 2–3