The Tortonian fish otoliths of northern Italy have been studied for more than a century and represent one of the best known otolith-based teleost faunas in the Miocene of the Mediterranean Basin. Yet with the growing knowledge on Recent otoliths, an updated taxonomic overview of this fauna is needed. Moreover, new material from hemipelagic Tortonian marls sampled at nine localities is described herein, revealing 109 taxa of which 88 are recognised at species level. Four of these are new: Coryphaenoides biobtusus sp. nov., “Merluccius” rattazzii sp. nov., Neobythites auriculatus sp. nov. and Lesueurigobius stironensis sp. nov. The compilation of previously studied and newly acquired material revealed a total of 118 nominal Tortonian species. At generic level, the fauna is characterised by many modern forms; more than 90% can be assigned to present day genera. At species level, however, more than half of the represented taxa are extinct. Based on the fossil otolith record, the Tortonian fauna of the Mediterranean is most similar to that of the Langhian (Badenian) of the Central Paratethys by sharing many extinct Miocene species, but it is also very close to that of the Pliocene Mediterranean, by sharing many modern Atlantic-Mediterranean forms. The Tortonian fauna is further characterised by many species that are apparently confined to the upper Miocene, resulting in a unique combination of its taxonomic composition.
Otolith-based fish fauna, taxonomy, faunal comparison, fossil record analysis, biogeography.