We present new data on genotypic differences and biogeographic distribution of coiling types in the living planktonic foraminiferal morphospecies Neogloboquadrina pachyderma. The genetic evidence demonstrates that coiling direction in N. pachyderma is a genetic trait, heritable through time, and is not a morphological feature reflecting ecophenotypic variation. The two opposite coiling morphotypes appear to have diverged during the late Miocene, and they have distinctly different ecologies. In combination with fossil evidence, biogeography, and ecology the degree of genetic distinction between the two coiling types of N. pachyderma strongly implies that they should be considered different species. We propose the adoption of the widely recognized name N. incompta for the right coiling morphospecies. The genetic evidence also demonstrates a low level (<3%) of aberrant coiling associated with both morphotypes. The abundance of these aberrant specimens has no relationship with the environment. These findings have important consequences for the use of N. pachyderma and N. incompta as paleoceanographic signal carriers in polar and subpolar waters. Copyright 2006 by the American Geophysical Union.