Sorbinicharax verraesi: An unexpected case of a benthic fish outside Acanthomorpha in the Upper Cretaceous of the Tethyan Sea

Abstract : †Sorbinicharax verraesi is a marine teleostean fish from the Upper Cretaceous of Nardò (Italy). It was first attributed to the otophysan order Characiformes, which represents potential evidence for the controversial marine origin of the clade. Through a review of all the available material, we demonstrate that this species is not an otophysan since it lacks key structures that would allow for its inclusion in this group. †Sorbinicharax has a body shape that recalls ground fishes classically assigned to Acanthomorpha. However, no unambiguous feature allows us to relate it to this clade. In fact, the presence of cellular bony tissue supports its exclusion from Eurypterygii. Since no feature permits the definitive attribution of †Sorbinicharax to any teleost group, it remains as Teleostei incertae sedis. We infer that the morphology of †Sorbinicharax indicates a benthic ecology. It displays: an anteriorly wide body with enlarged ribs; large pectoral fins, while anal and dorsal fins are reduced; a large head measuring ¼ of the total body length; and a mouth opening dorsally in a high position. Such morphology was so far undescribed in Nardo. It is surprisingly displayed by a non-eurypterygian teleost fish which means by a fish which does not belong to the clades that diversify since the upper Cretaceous and include the extant families that show ground ecomorphologies.
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PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2017, 12 (8), pp.e0183879. 〈10.1371/journal.pone.0183879〉
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Diogo Mayrinck, Paulo M. Brito, François J. Meunier, Jesus Alvarado-Ortega, Olga Otero. Sorbinicharax verraesi: An unexpected case of a benthic fish outside Acanthomorpha in the Upper Cretaceous of the Tethyan Sea. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2017, 12 (8), pp.e0183879. 〈10.1371/journal.pone.0183879〉. 〈hal-01590260〉

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