Intra- and interspecific variation in the early internal shell features of ammonoids has been examined in 14 Late Cretaceous species representing four suborders on the basis of large samples from Hokkaido (Japan) and the U.S. Western Interior Province. Our observations indicate that quantitative characters such as the size of the initial chamber and ammonitella, the length of the prosiphon, and the ammonitella angle exhibit moderate variation within species. The ranges of variation partly overlap among species, indicating that these characters are not suitable for studies of the higher-level systematics of ammonoids, but may sometimes help diagnose species. In contrast, there is much less variation within species with respect to qualitative characters such as the shape of the prosiphon, the presence or absence of accessory threads of the prosiphon, the shape of the caecum, and the initial position of the siphuncle. Examination of these characters shows that they appear to be stable at the superfamily level for the Ammonitina, but variable among species in the Lytoceratina. Thus, these characters are potentially more useful for higher-level phylogenetic analysis.

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