Reconstruction of Oligocene and Neogene freshwater fish
faunas—an actualistic study on cypriniform otoliths
TANJA SCHULZ-MIRBACH and BETTINA REICHENBACHER
Schulz-Mirbach, T. and Reichenbacher, B. 2006. Reconstruction of Oligocene and Neogene freshwater fish faunas—an
actualistic study on cypriniform otoliths. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica 51 (2): 283–304.
Fossil utricular otoliths (= lapilli) from cypriniform fishes have long been recorded from European Oligocene and Neo-
gene freshwater and oligohaline sediments. Until now, their determination was limited to the family level owing to the
lack of morphological investigations on lapilli of Recent cypriniforms. The present study introduces a terminology for the
lapillus morphology that is based on the lapilli of 134 specimens of 20 cyprinid and one balitorid species. It is demon-
strated that the lapillus has valuable characters for taxonomic classification. As a result, fossil lapilli from Oligocene and
Miocene continental deposits from the western Mediterranean, the Swiss and the South German Molasse Basin, the
Mainz Basin, and additionally from Anatolia could be determined. Nine species were identified: aff. Abramis sp. vel aff.
Alburnus sp., aff. Alburnoides sp., aff. Barbus sp., cf. Leuciscus sp., Palaeoleuciscus sp., Palaeotinca moeddeni sp. nov.,
Palaeotinca sp. 1, aff. Phoxinus sp., and aff. Rutilus sp. vel aff. Scardinius sp. Our study includes the oldest record of a
Phoxinus-related and a Palaeotinca species from Europe. Additionally, aff. Abramis sp. vel aff. Alburnus sp. and aff.
Alburnoides have been identified as fossils for the first time. The determination of the fossil lapilli has been supported by
means of pharyngeal teeth, with the exception of aff. Abramis sp. vel aff. Alburnus sp., whose lapilli were found together
with pharyngeal teeth of Palaeocarassius sp. It is suggested that these so-called Palaeocarassius pharyngeal teeth do not
belong to an ancestor of the Carassius lineage, but to a forerunner of the Abramis or Alburnus lineage. Our results support
the previously described turnover in the Paratethys freshwater fish fauna about 17–18 Ma ago, when Palaeotinca spp. be-
came extinct and the first appearance of Palaeoleuciscus sp. and Palaeocarassius sp. (= aff. Abramis sp. vel aff. Alburnus
sp.) occurred. The Oligocene and Miocene cypriniform fishes did not evolve any provincialism from southern France
throughout the Molasse Basin to the Mainz Basin.
Key words : Cypriniforms, utricular otoliths, lapillus, morphology, Recent, Oligocene, Miocene.
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