Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments

, Volume 99, Issue 2, pp 177–194 | Cite as

A unique middle Miocene (Sarmatian) fish fauna from coastal deposits in the eastern Pannonian Basin (Romania)

  • Bettina ReichenbacherEmail author
  • Sorin Filipescu
  • Angela Miclea
Original Paper


Based on a total of 161 otoliths, a unique teleost fauna is described from the middle Miocene in the eastern Pannonian Basin. The section studied is located near the Apuseni Mountains (Romania). It can be dated by the presence of foraminifera to the Varidentella reussi and Elphidium reginum biozones. The fish fauna is thus of late Serravallian/early Sarmatian age (around 12.3 Ma). Fourteen fish species were identified and assigned to Atherinidae (1 species), Valenciidae (2 species), Aphaniidae (1 species), Blenniidae (1 species) and Gobioidei (9 species). The assemblage includes several previously unknown species, and shares only two species with known Miocene ichthyofaunas. Seven new species are introduced: Atherina carnevalei n. sp., Aphanolebias sarmaticus n. sp., Blennius? martinii n. sp., Gobius apuseni n. sp., G. holcovae n. sp., G. manfredi n. sp. and Eleogobius prochazkai n. sp. Among the Gobiidae, G. apuseni n. sp. and G. holcovae n. sp. were small-sized species and perhaps restricted to the Sarmatian coast of the study site, whereas G. manfredi n. sp. also occurs in the northwestern Pannonian Basin. The fossil fish fauna indicates an early Sarmatian nearshore-to-brackish environment along a rocky coast on the northwestern flank of the Apuseni Mountains. A restricted connection to the Eastern Paratethys is possible, whereas there is no indication of a link with the Mediterranean Sea. The co-occurrence of nine species of the Gobioidei implies that this now very species-rich group was already reasonably diverse in the late middle Miocene.


Serravallian Sarmatian Central Paratethys Otoliths Gobioidei Palaeoenvironment 



We gratefully acknowledge the constructive and detailed review comments of Giorgio Carnevale (Torino, Italy) and Dirk Nolf (Bruxelles, Belgium).

Funding information

BR acknowledges funding from the German Research Foundation (grant number RE 1113/20-1) and AM is grateful for the financial support of the project POSDRU/107/1.5/S/76841.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest:

The authors declare that there is no conflict of interest.


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Bettina Reichenbacher
    • 1
    Email author
  • Sorin Filipescu
    • 2
  • Angela Miclea
    • 2
  1. 1.Department of Earth and Environmental Sciences, Palaeontology and GeobiologyLudwig Maximilians UniversityMunichGermany
  2. 2.Department of GeologyBabeş-Bolyai UniversityCluj-NapocaRomania

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