A late Burdigalian gobiid fish,Gobius brevis (Agassiz, 1839), in the Upper Hydrobia Beds in the middle Upper Rhine Graben (W-Germany)

Research paper by Bettina Reichenbacher München, Jean Gaudant Paris, Thomas W. Griessemer

Indexed on: 01 Dec '07Published on: 01 Dec '07Published in: Paläontologische Zeitschrift


Gobius brevis (Agassiz, 1839) was hitherto exclusively based on articulated skeletons. It first appears in the late Early Miocene (late Burdigalian, Karpatian) and is widespread throughout the Middle Miocene. Its previously known zoogeographical distribution was the western Paratethys and the Styrian Basin in Austria. We here report on articulated skeletons ofG. brevis with otoliths in situ from a temporary outcrop at Edenkoben, located in the middle Upper Rhine Graben, Germany. The strata are assigned to the basal part of the Upper Hydrobia Beds. The otoliths in situ are identical with those ofGobius latiformisReichenbacher, 1992, which is an otolith-based species occurring in the Karpatian and Middle Miocene of the western Paratethys; henceG. latiformis has to be regarded as a younger synonym ofG. brevis (Agassiz, 1839). The skeletons ofG. brevis from Edenkoben differ from other articulated freshwater or brackish water MioceneGobius species in the number of vertebrae, more elongate body shape, and number of fin rays. Also the otoliths ofG. brevis differ in their overall shape from these species. However, the in situ preserved otoliths ofG. brevis in the Edenkoben locality show a more primitive evolutionary stage than the Middle Miocene otoliths ofG. brevis (formerly described asG. latiformis). Thus, the gobiid fishes from Edenkoben belong to the oldest representatives ofG. brevis and must be late Burdigalian in age.Gobius brevis probably migrated into the middle Upper Rhine Graben from the Paratethys area.