Middle Miocene wrasses (Teleostei, Labridae) from St.Margarethen (Burgenland, Austria) [121-159
published: Jun 3, 2015
Members of the family Labridae, commonly known as wrasses, are a highly diverse group of fishes characterized by a variety of body shapes, swimming modes, and feeding habits, representing one of the most morphologically and ecologically diversified families of marine fishes. Wrasses inhabit shallow water biotopes in tropical and temperate waters, mostly coral and rocky reefs and seagrass beds. The evolutionary and biogeographic history of wrasses are extremely complex and difficult to decipher, also because wrasses are scarcely represented in the fossil record, with many records being based on isolated teeth or pharyngeal bones. Three taxa of wrasses, the julidine Coris sigismundi (Kner 1862), and the labrines Symphodus westneati sp. nov. and Wainwrightilabrus agassizi (Münster 1846), are documented herein from the Middle Miocene of St. Margarethen, Burgenland, Eisenstadt-Sopron Basin, Austria, based on 61 articulated skeletons. The morphological features of these three taxa are described and illustrated. The Wainwrightilabrus appears to be closely related to the extant genus Labrus from which it differs in having a unique combination of morphological and meristic features that clearly justifies its recognition as a new genus. The paleoenvironmental and evolutionary significance of the Miocene labrids from St. Margarethen is also discussed.