A new characiform is herein described from the Eocene-Oligocene sediments exposed in the Aiuruoca basin, in southern Minas Gerais State, Brazil. Recently, two other characid species were described for this same fossil level: † Paleotetra aiuruoca and † Paleotetra entrecorregos. The holotype of this new characiform is represented by an articulated specimen preserved as part and counterpart, in which the most anterior part of the head is missing, including the jaws. Despite the lack of the diagnostic characters from the snout, a unique combination of characters allows its differentiation from other Neotropical characiforms, raising a new genus and species: † Bryconetes enigmaticus. Among these characters are: the presence of a supraorbital, dentary with inflated pentacuspidate teeth arranged in a single row, infraorbital 3 expanded and ornamented with punctuations and grooves, a large anal fin with iii+22-23 rays, and the caudal fin with 11 ventral procurrent rays of which the anteriormost are fused in laminar bones. A phylogenetic analysis using morphological data was performed and recovered † Bryconetes enigmaticus as a stem group to characiforms lacking a supraorbital. Based on the results of this analysis, a discussion of the potential relationships of the new taxon with other characiforms is presented.
Aiuruoca; Eocene; Paleotetra; stem-group; supraorbital