A new Eocene catostomid (Teleostei: Cypriniformes) from northeastern China and early divergence of Catostomidae

  • Juan Liu
  • Mee-mann ChangEmail author


A new Eocene catostomid genus and species, Plesiomyxocyprinus arratiae, is described from Huadian, Jilin Province, northeastern China. The materials include a nearly complete skeleton, dozens of pharyngeal bones with teeth, and a number of disarticulated bones. The new articulated specimen is large-sized and deep-bodied, with an estimated standard length of ca. 300 mm and body depth of 156 mm or about half of its standard length. The assignment of the fish to the Catostomidae is based on its falciform pharyngeal bone with one row of numerous (more than 50) compressed teeth, and the bone is much smaller than in cyprinids, especially given the size of the fish. The new fish distinguishes itself from all known catostomids (both extinct and extant) in its long anal fin with four unbranched and 17–18 branched rays, and its extremely short caudal peduncle that is only about one fourth of its depth. Plesiomyxocyprinus arratiae resembles the Eocene-Oligocene transpacific-distributed Amyzon in many general skeletal characters. However, it shows a few characters uniquely shared with the Recent catostomid Myxocyprinus asiaticus. Those include a very long dorsal fin with about 50 branched fin rays, the end of dorsal fin rays being close to the caudal fin base, and anal rays stretching posteriorly beyond the base of caudal fin. It is the first fossil catostomid that shows a close relationship to the endemic Myxocyprinus now living in the Yangtze River and Minjiang River, China. The discovery of Plesiomyxocyprinus arratiae, along with two previously described possible catostomid genera Jianghanichthys and Vasnetzovia, may indicate that the divergence of the Catostomidae started much earlier, in the middle Eocene or earlier, on the western side of the Pacific than on its eastern side.


a new catostomid genus Eocene northeastern China early divergence 


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© Science in China Press and Springer-Verlag GmbH 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Key Laboratory of Evolutionary Systematics of VertebratesInstitute of Vertebrate Paleontology and Paleoanthropology, Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina
  2. 2.Graduate University of Chinese Academy of SciencesBeijingChina

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