First Aspidorhynchidae (Pisces: Teleostei) from Antarctica
A new fossil teleost, belonging to the family Aspidorhynchidae Nicholson & Lydekker, Aspidorhynchus antarcticus sp. nov., was obtained from a block of reworked Upper Jurassic tuffaceous mudstone in the lower (Albian) part of the mid-Cretaceous Whisky Bay Formation of James Ross Island, Antarctic Peninsula. Additional material, assignable to Aspidorhynchus sp., was collected from in situ Upper Jurassic marine rocks (Nordenskjöld Formation) at Longing Gap, northern Antarctic Peninsula. Not only is this the first reported occurrence of the family from Antarctica, it is also the first unequivocal record of Aspidorhynchus outside Europe; prior to this discovery, the genus had only been reported with certainty in marine deposits from the Middle Jurassic to Lower Cretaceous of England, France and Germany. This is the earliest neopterygian fish so far recovered from marine rocks in the Antarctic.