Field of Science

Triassic Fish Faunas of Western Argentina

Lopez-Arbarello, A., Rauhut, O.W.M, and E. Cerdeno. 2010. The Triassic fish faunas of the Cuyana Basin, western Argentina. Palaeontology doi: 10.1111/j.1475-4983.2010.00931.x

Abstract - The continental deposits of the Cuyana Basin, western Argentina, have yielded the most diverse, but so far almost unstudied, Triassic ichthyofaunas of South America. Here, we review these faunas and show that only eight of the 29 named taxa can be considered valid, including the chondrostean Neochallaia, the acrolepid Challaia, Guaymayenia, a taxon of uncertain affinities, and five species of the perleidiform family Pseudobeaconiidae. The first three taxa most probably come from Middle Triassic sediments, while the pseudobeaconiids are of Late Triassic age. Other material, although not diagnostic, probably represents other species, and thus, the diversity of actinopterygians in the Cuyana basin is certainly higher than currently recognized. For the Late Triassic fish fauna, the absence of crown-group neopterygians and a single record of a sarcopterygian is noteworthy and probably indicates some degree of endemism in this fauna, also supported by the high abundance of pseudobeaconiids, which are unknown from other areas. Furthermore, on the basis of the age indicated by the fishes and the available geological information, we discuss the age of the local fauna of the Cerro Bayo, close to the city of Mendoza, and the Agua de la Zorra Formation, Uspallata.

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