A quantitative study of late Cenozoic silicoflagellates from the northwestern Pacific sites of Deep Sea Drilling Project Leg 86 shows a relative paleotemperature (Ts) gradient with lowest values (Ts = 30) in the north. Some new ecostratigraphic relations for the region are indicated, such as the last common occurrence of Dictyocha brevispina at 2.6 - 3.0 m.y. ago during a cool interval. Elements of North Pacific and low-latitude biostratigraphic zonations can be identified, but the mixing of cool- and warm-indicator taxa prompted the definition of the new Miocene Mesocena hexalitha Subzone and Pliocene Distephanus jimlingii Subzone. Scanning-electron microscope study of Leg 86 silicoflagellates was done to determine whether various types of skeletal surface texture are temperature dependent. To conduct the study we organized a new surface-texture descriptive code, which characterizes the apical structure/basal ring/spine sequence using new definitions of the terms crenulate (C), linear (L), nodular (N), reticulate (R), and smooth (S). One new silicoflagellate genus, Caryocha Bukry et Monechi, n. gen., is described and several new combinations are made.