Bollettino SPI Vol. 59 (2)

Published in September 2020


  • Villa A., Bacciotti M., Sala B. & Delfino M. (2020)

Early Biharian amphibians and reptiles from Monte La Mesa (Verona, northeastern Italy): a typical herpetological assemblage from the Early Pleistocene of Veneto
pp. 85-104
doi: 10.4435/BSPI.2020.01


A certain stability in the Quaternary herpetological assemblages of the Veneto area has been recognised in recent years, however further studies are needed in order to better comprehend their evolutionary dynamics. Amphibians and reptiles from the early Biharian site of Monte La Mesa can prove useful in this respect as the assemblage is composed of taxa well known from other older and younger (Gelasian to Holocene) localities in Veneto as well as by providing some interesting exceptions. At least 11 taxa are recognised based on the fossil material studied: Ichthyosaura alpestrisBombina sp., Bufo gr. B. bufo, cf. Bufotes gr. B. viridis, Ranidae indet., Testudines indet., Lacertidae indet. A, Lacertidae indet. B, Anguis gr. A. fragilisPseudopus cf. P. pannonicus, and Zamenis gr. Z. longissimus. The Monte La Mesa locality hosts the oldest occurrence of a green toad within the Quaternary of northern Italy, where the youngest preceding occurrence is in the Piacenzian strata of Piedmont. This suggests a possible disappearance and recolonization of the area by these bufonids only after the end of the Gelasian (unlike the pattern known for the Iberian Peninsula, where they disappeared in post-Jaramillo times). In addition to the latter, significant finds of non-Anguis anguine remains from the Monte La Mesa site support the presence of the P. pannonicus lineage in Italy during the Quaternary. Taken together, the palaeoherpetofauna supports the reconstruction of a humid and forested environment for the Monte La Mesa area during this interval of the Early Pleistocene.

Supplementary Online Material
  • Marramà G., Bannikov A.F. & Carnevale G. (2020)

An Eocene scorpionfish from Monte Postale (Bolca Lagerstätte, northeastern Italy)
pp. 105-112
doi: 10.4435/BSPI.2020.09


A small-sized Eocene percomorph fish collected in 2003 during supervised excavations at the Monte Postale site of the Bolca Lagerstätte is described herein. Although the fossil is poorly preserved, a set of morphological characters are recognised (e.g., large head bearing prominent lachrymal, orbital, parietal, preopercular and opercular spines; six branchiostegal rays; hypurals 1+2 and 3+4 fused; about 20 vertebrae; 15 unbranched pectoral-fin rays; dorsal fin with 13 spines and 12 soft rays; anal fin with three spines and five soft rays) that allow the specimen to be referred to the Scorpaenoidei. This diverse group of percomorph fishes is represented today by scorpionfishes, flatheads, sea robins and stonefishes. In particular, the overall morphology of the fossil as well as certain skeletal and meristic features suggest a possible relationship with the scorpionfish families Scorpaenidae or Synanceiidae. The relevance of this fossil is primarily due to the fact that it represents the first scorpionfish from the Eocene of the Bolca Lagerstätte, and it also provides support to the hypothesis that the evolutionary origin of scorpaenoid fishes took place in warm and shallow waters.

  • Carone G. & Rizzo R. (2020)

A new record of fossil sirenians from the Miocene of Sardinia (Italy)
pp. 113-124


The first diagnostic sirenian material from Sardinia is reported and the fossil record of Miocene Sardinian sirenians is reviewed through an updated geological and stratigraphic framework. The new specimens are referred to Metaxytherium cf. M. krahuletzi Deperet, 1895, indicating the diffusion of the species into the mid-southern Tethys. We also state that the other specimens from the earlymiddle Miocene previously found on the island should be assigned to the same species. We regard the holotype of Metaxytherium lovisati Capellini, 1886 as not diagnostic and consider it a nomen dubium. This conclusion is consistent with the taxonomic analysis given by Sorbi (2008) which winnowed the nominal taxa into four Miocene and Pliocene species.

  • Schwarzhans W., Brzobohatý R. & Radwańska U. (2020)

Goby otoliths from the Badenian (middle Miocene) of the Central Paratethys from the Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland: A baseline for the evolution of the European Gobiidae (Gobiiformes; Teleostei)
pp. 125-173


The middle Miocene Badenian sediments of the western Central Paratethys are particularly rich in highly diverse associations of gobies, represented by their otoliths. This diversity is caused by significant variations in palaeoenvironmental conditions over short distances. Here we review the rich goby otolith collections from the Carpathian Foredeep in southern Poland and southern Moravia and from the northern Vienna Basin in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. A total of 31 gobiid species are recognised in the Badenian, with six species new to science: Gobius supraspectabilis n. sp., Chromogobiusprimigenius n. sp., Odondebuenia agiadiae n. sp., Vanderhorstia prochazkai n. sp., Hesperichthys iugosus n. sp. and Knipowitschia polonica n. sp. The fossil otolith-based genus Hoeseichthys n. gen. is established to account for the deep-water species H. preaclarus (Procházka, 1893) and H. laevis (Weiler, 1942), the latter of which is primarily found in the North Sea Basin. In addition, the rich material now available offers an opportunity to redefine certain species from the area that were described by Procházka between 1893 and 1900. The whereabouts of Procházka’s original material is unknown, with the exception of a few undescribed specimens that were recently discovered and are included in this study. Many of the species described by him have proven enigmatic in taxonomic otolith research, and, unfortunately, some of them cannot be redefined even now and will have to remain nomina dubia until his type specimens are re-discovered or declared lost. This study aims at establishing a baseline for the assessment of the evolution of gobies in the Mediterranean and the Paratethys after the separation of these seas, which were still interconnected during the early Badenian. Our study reveals that all major Atlanto-Mediterranean goby lineages, represented by a number of mostly persistent genera, were present in the Badenian. The first taxa of the Ponto-Caspian goby lineages are unambiguously represented only since the late Badenian. The Badenian of the Central Paratethys also contained a few goby lineages which are now not found around Europe but do exist in the Indo-West Pacific (i.e., the Asterropteryx lineage and the Priolepis lineage). There are indications that the identified genera of the Asterropteryx lineage (AmblyeleotrisVanderhorstia) may have already lived in commensal association with alpheid shrimps at that time. The Paratethyan events during the middle Miocene are reflected in a moderate faunal change in the gobiid composition from the early Badenian to the late Badenian and a major faunal change following the Badenian- Sarmatian Extinction Event.

  • Cau A. & Bizzarini F. (2020) – Short Note

Preliminary report of a new pliosaurid specimen (Reptilia, Plesiosauria) from the Rosso Ammonitico Veronese Formation (Middle-Upper Jurassic of Italy)
pp. 175-177

  • Collareta A. & Newman W.A. (2020) – Short Note

Protochelonibia melleni (Zullo, 1982) comb. nov., an archaic barnacle from the lower Oligocene of Mississippi (USA), and its impact on the stratigraphic and geographic distribution of the early coronuloids of Western Tethys)
pp. 179-181