Swiss Journal of Palaeontology

, Volume 131, Issue 2, pp 265–274 | Cite as

Aspistor verumquadriscutis, a new fossil species of sea catfishes (Siluriformes; Ariidae) from the upper Miocene of Venezuela

  • Orangel AguileraEmail author
  • Alexander P. Marceniuk


The Late Miocene Urumaco Formation, Northwestern Venezuela, one of the most fossiliferous units in the Neogene of tropical America, represents a shallow, marginal marine to deltaic wetland and fluvial system. A new extinct species of sea catfishes is described from the Urumaco Formation. Aspistor verumquadriscutis n. sp. is placed in the genera Aspistor based on five synapomorphies shared with modern congeners: epioccipital dorsally exposed, parieto-supraoccipital posterior margin convex, nuchal plates forming a large butterfly-shaped or moon-shaped structure, anterior margin of nuchal plate slightly concave, and nuchal plate overlapping parieto-supraoccipital. The new fossil species is distinguished from its modern congeners by having a shorter parieto-supraoccipital process, and a larger and longer nuchal plate, nuchal plate length 0.9–1.0 in parieto-supraoccipital process length (vs. 1.1–1.7 in A. luniscutis), and nuchal-plate width at medial area 0.9–1.0 in parieto-supraoccipital process length (vs. 1.1–1.5 in A. luniscutis); nuchal plate granulose over its entire surface (vs. with half lateral surface smooth in A. quadriscutis), nuchal plate subquadrangular shaped, almost as long as wide (vs. nuchal plate subtrapezoidal or butterfly shaped, anterior portion always narrower than the posterior portion in A. quadriscutis), and lateral margin of the nuchal plate straight (vs. with a constriction at the medial portion in A. quadriscutis).


Ariidae Urumaco Formation Neogene Palaeontology 



Universidad Nacional Experimental Francisco de Miranda, Venezuela


National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, USA


Museu de Zoologia da Universidade de São Paulo, Brazil



The Universidad Francisco de Miranda, the Zurich University, the Philadelphia Academy of Science, the Smithsonian Tropical Research Institute, the Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi and the Conselho Nacional de Desenvolvimento Científico e Tecnológico (CNPq) of Brazil supported this research (Proc. 310009/2011-1 to OA and Proc: 151731/2010-1 to APM). We thank John Lundberg, Mark Sabaj, David Santana, Marcelo Sánchez and anonymous reviewers for suggestions and text review. Thanks to Loic Costeur for editorial support. Carlos Jaramillo and Luis Quiróz, helped us with the Urumaco section. Livia Iradora and Fernando Acosta helped us with specimens and outcrop photographs, respectively.


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Copyright information

© Akademie der Naturwissenschaften Schweiz (SCNAT) 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Museu Paraense Emilio Goeldi, Coordenação de Ciências da Terra e Ecologia, CCTEBelémBrazil
  2. 2.Universidade Federal do Pará, Instituto de Estudos Costeiros, Campus de Bragança, Alameda Leandro RibeiroBragançaBrazil

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