Abstract

Fossil ceratioid anglerfishes are described from the Upper Miocene (upper Mohnian) deposits of the Puente Formation, Los Angeles Basin, California. The specimens were collected from the laminated turbiditic deposits of the Yorba Member in the eastern sector of the Los Angeles Basin during the construction of a new metro rail line. Five taxa (Borophryne cf. apogon; Chaenophryne aff. melanorhabdus; Leptacanthichthys cf. gracilispinis; Linophryne cf. indica; Oneirodes sp.) belonging to two families, Linophrynidae and Oneirodidae, are described based on nine metamorphosed females. A detailed osteological analysis of the fossils has revealed that they can be tentatively assigned to extant species, suggesting that little or no relevant morphological change has characterized these taxa at least since the Late Miocene. Biogeographic considerations suggest that the Late Miocene ceratioid assemblages of the Los Angeles Basin are strikingly similar to those that currently inhabit the tropical and subtropical eastern Pacific region. From a paleoenvironmental point of view, the excellent preservation of the specimens suggests a reduced turbulence and velocity of the turbidity fluxes. Finally, the comparative study of the bathymetric ranges of the ceratioid taxa recognized in the fossil assemblage described in this paper suggests that the minimum depth of the depositional environment might be estimated at approximately 1,000 m.

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