On a remarkable new species of Tharsis, a Late Jurassic teleostean fish from southern Germany: its morphology and phylogenetic relationships
A complete morphological description, as preservation permits, is provided for a new Late Jurassic fish species (Tharsis elleri) together with a revision and comparison of some morphological features of Tharsis dubius, one of the most common species from the Solnhofen limestone, southern Germany. An emended diagnosis of the genus Tharsis – now including two species – is presented. The new species is characterized by a combination of morphological characters, such as the presence of a complete sclerotic ring formed by two bones placed anterior and posterior to the eye, a moderately short lower jaw with quadrate-mandibular articulation below the anterior half of the orbit, caudal vertebrae with neural and haemal arches fused to their respective vertebral centrum, and parapophyses fused to their respective centrum. A phylogenetic analysis based on 198 characters and 43 taxa is performed. Following the phylogenetic hypothesis, the sister-group relationship Ascalaboidae plus more advanced teleosts stands above the node of Leptolepis coryphaenoides. Both nodes have strong support among teleosts. The results confirm the inclusion of Ascalabos, Ebertichthys and Tharsis as members of this extinct family. Tharsis elleri n. sp. (LSID urn:lsid:zoobank.org:act:6434E6F5-2DDD-48CF-A2B1-827495FE46E6, date: 13 December 2018) is so far restricted to one Upper Jurassic German locality – Wegscheid Quarry near Schernfeld, Eichstätt – whereas Tharsis dubius is known not only from Wegscheid Quarry, but also from different localities in the Upper Jurassic of Bavaria, Germany, and Cerin in France.