Skip to content Skip to navigation

Article: Carboniferous (Tournaisian) fish assemblages from the Isle of Bute, Scotland: systematics and palaeoecology

Publication: Palaeontology
Volume: 57
Part: 6
Publication Date: November 2014
Page(s): 1215 1240
Author(s): David K. Carpenter, Howard J. Falcon-Lang, Michael J. Benton and Elsa Henderson
Addition Information

How to Cite

CARPENTER, D.K., FALCON-LANG, H.J., BENTON, M.J., HENDERSON, E. 2014. Carboniferous (Tournaisian) fish assemblages from the Isle of Bute, Scotland: systematics and palaeoecology. Palaeontology, 57, 6, 1215-1240.

Author Information

  • David K. Carpenter - School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK (email:
  • David K. Carpenter - Ocean and Earth Science, National Oceanography Centre Southampton, University of Southampton Waterfront Campus, Southampton, UK
  • Howard J. Falcon-Lang - Department of Earth Sciences, Royal Holloway, Egham, Surrey, UK  (email:
  • Michael J. Benton - School of Earth Sciences, University of Bristol, Bristol, UK (email:
  • Elsa Henderson - Rosemount, Ascog, Isle of Bute, UK (email:

Publication History

  • Issue published online: 25 NOV 2014
  • Article first published online: 5 MAY 2014
  • Manuscript Accepted: 11 MAR 2014
  • Manuscript Received: 22 JUL 2012

Funded By

University of Bristol
Royal Holloway. Grant Number: NE/F014120/2

Online Version Hosted By

Wiley Online Library
Get Article: Wiley Online Library [Pay-to-View Access] |


We describe fish assemblages from the Carboniferous (mid- to late Tournaisian) Ballagan Formation at two localities, Hawk's Nib and Mill Hole, on the Isle of Bute, Scotland. Fossil material occurs in thin, locally reworked dolomitic limestone beds, interpreted as the deposits of very shallow lakes or lagoons, developed on, or adjacent to, a seasonally dry coastal plain. The mostly disarticulated fossils comprise isolated teeth, mandibles, scales, tesserae, dermal bones, lepidotrichia and vertebrae. The fauna includes rhizodonts (cf. Archichthys portlocki, cf. Strepsodus sauroides), lungfish (Sagenodus sp.), other sarcopterygians (Megalichthys sp.), one shark (Ageleodus pectinatus), climatiiform acanthodians and indeterminate actinopterygians. The Mill Hole assemblage is especially noteworthy because it includes some putative juvenile forms (Archichthys and Sagenodus). A critical review of the habitat preferences of the documented taxa suggests that most were either euryhaline or, in the case of Archichthys, probably endemic to brackish or freshwater settings. The Bute fish beds fall within a crucial evolutionary period during which many fish and other animal groups were infiltrating nonmarine environments, either passively or actively. It may be that lakes and lagoons may have functioned as protected nurseries for juveniles during this wave of colonization.

PalAss Go! URL: | Twitter: Share on Twitter | Facebook: Share on Facebook | Google+: Share on Google+