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First description of the fossil otolith-based sciaenid, Equetulus silverdalensis n. comb., in the Gulf Coastal Plain, USA, with comments on the enigmatic distribution of the species


The fossil otolith-based sciaenid genus Equetulus is known almost exclusively from South America, the Caribbean, and Central America, with the various species ranging in age from the late Oligocene to late Miocene. The only exception to this geographical distribution is the isolated occurrence of Equetulus silverdalensis n. comb. in the Belgrade Formation (latest Oligocene–early Miocene) in the Atlantic Coastal Plain of the USA (North Carolina) and a mention of its occurrence in the Chickasawhay Limestone (late Oligocene) in the Gulf Coastal Plain of the USA (Mississippi). However, sampling of the Paynes Hammock Sand (late Oligocene, Chattian) near Millry, Alabama, USA, resulted in the discovery of an otolith representing the first occurrence of E. silverdalensis in Alabama and the first systematic description of the species from the Gulf Coastal Plain of the USA. These occurrences suggest a potential distribution of this fossil species from Atlantic Coastal Plain of North Carolina to the central Gulf Coastal Plain of Alabama and possibly Mississippi.

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