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Title: Otoliths in situ from Sarmatian (Middle Miocene) fishes of the Paratethys. Part III: tales from the cradle of the Ponto-Caspian gobies
Authors: Schwarzhans, Werner
Ahnelt, Harald
Carnevale, Giorgio
Japundzˇic, Sanja
Bradic, Katarina
Bratishko, Andriy
Keywords: Aphia lineage
Benthophilus lineage
Pomatoschistus lineage
Issue Date: 2017
Abstract: Articulated fossil fish skeletons with otoliths in situ provide a unique opportunity to link these two, otherwise independent data sets of skeletons and otoliths. They provide calibration points for otoliths also adding important information for the evolutionary interpretation of fishes. Here, we review nine articulated skeletons of gobies from the early Sarmatian of Dolje, Croatia, and Belgrade, Serbia, which were previously regarded as members of a single gobiid and a callionymid species. We found them to represent five different gobiid species belonging to five different genera, four of which are related to extant endemic Ponto-Caspian gobiid lineages. The species are: Aphia macrophthalma n.sp., Proneogobius n.gen. pullus (the only previously recognized species), Protobenthophilus n.gen. squamatus n.sp., Economidichthys triangularis (a species first described based on otoliths) and Hesperichthys n.gen. reductus n.sp. Five specimens contained otoliths in situ and a sixth shows imprints of otoliths which unfortunately must have been lost in the past, probably during preparation of the fossil. Together, they represent all five species recognized by skeletons, and three are linked to otolith-based species. Isolated otoliths have been reviewed from a variety of collections from Sarmatian strata in Austria, Bulgaria, Czechia, Romania and Slovakia resulting in the description of five new otolith-based species: Benthophilus? ovisulcus n.sp., Benthophilus styriacus n.sp., Protobenthophilus strashimirovi n.sp., Economidichthys altidorsalis n.sp. and Knipowitschia bulgarica n.sp. Our review demonstrates that all major endemic Ponto-Caspian gobiid lineages were already present during Sarmatian times, thereby pushing back their origin by approximately 5–10 myr in comparison to previously published dates for dichotomies. In our assessment, the origination of these lineages is linked to the early stage of separation of the Paratethys from the world oceans and the ecological changes that occurred during that time. These geological events parallel a dramatic increase in gobiid radiation and speciation, giving rise to many lineages, not all of which have persisted until today.
Description: Otoliths in situ from Sarmatian (Middle Miocene) fishes of the Paratethys. Part III: tales from the cradle of the Ponto-Caspian gobies / W. Schwarzhans, H. Ahnelt, G. Carnevale and others // Swiss Jornal of Palaeontology. - 2017. - Volume 136, Issue 1. - Рp. 45–92.
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