Diversity and distribution of fossil codlets (Teleostei, Gadiformes, Bregmacerotidae): review and commentary

Research paper by Tomáš Přikryl, Rostislav Brzobohatý, Růžena Gregorová

Indexed on: 30 Jan '16Published on: 30 Jan '16Published in: Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments


The Bregmacerotidae is a family of small-sized, pelagic fish within the Gadiformes (i.e. cods) and their fossils are commonly found in Cenozoic marine sediments as articulated skeletons, isolated otoliths or skeletons with otoliths in situ. Although numerous fossils have been published, and their geographical and chronological distributions are well documented, morphological data are often sparse or confusing. Eighteen fossil species of bregmacerotids have been recognised: 17 species within the middle Eocene–Recent genus Bregmaceros (five species based on articulated skeletons, including two with otoliths in situ, and 12 species based on isolated otoliths alone) and the Miocene Bregmacerina antiqua. Here, we provisionally accept the 12 nominal species based on otoliths. However, we find that only two species of Bregmaceros based on body fossils, and both known by otoliths in situ, are diagnosable: B. albyi (including junior subjective synonym B. bosniaski) from the Miocene–Pliocene of Italy, Austria, Greece, Cyprus, Malta and Algeria, and B. filamentosus (including junior subjective synonym B. prahovanus) from the Eocene–Miocene of Egypt, Iran, Czech Republic, Romania, Georgia, Poland and Russia. For the other two species named for body fossils, we regard Bregmaceros carpathicus as a nomen dubium and exclude it from Bregmacerotidae, and we question whether the monospecific Bregmacerina is a bregmacerotid. We provide descriptions of relevant body fossils (including available type specimens), and summarise and discuss the fossil record for the family.