Article: A new coral-associated decapod assemblage from the Upper Miocene (Messinian) Upper Coralline Limestone of Malta (Central Mediterranean)
A rich coral-associated decapod assemblage is recorded from the ‘Depiru Beds’ of the upper part of the Upper Coralline Limestone (Messinian, Upper Miocene), from the island of Malta. Nineteen species within 17 genera have been discovered, where 14 genera are new for Malta. Four new species are described, namely Micippa annamariae sp. nov., Pilumnus scaber sp. nov., Panopeus muelleri sp. nov. and Herbstia melitense sp. nov. Herbstia melitense sp. nov. constitutes the first record of the genus from the fossil record in the Mediterranean region. This discovery more than doubles the number of known fossil decapod species from Malta. The fossil bivalve Jouannetia (J.) semicaudata Des Moulins, 1830 and the extant decapod Maja goltziana D’Oliveira, 1888, are also recorded for the first time from Malta. Other Neogene coral-associated decapod assemblages are investigated and correlated with the new assemblage from Malta. The migration of taxa between the Mediterranean region and the Paratethys, particularly during the Lower Badenian (Langhian), is evidenced by the strong affinity of the Maltese decapod assemblage with that of the Middle Miocene Badenian assemblages from Hungary, Poland and Ukraine. Upper Miocene, Messinian assemblages from Spain, Algeria and Morocco are also similar to that from Malta.