Toadfishes (Batrachoidiformes) are benthic fishes often burying in the sand or under rocks that occur worldwide in tropical to temperate marine and brackish waters. The Batrachoididae, the only known family of the order Batrachoidiformes, includes 23 extant genera and about 80 species arranged in four subfamilies. A new genus and species of toadfish, †Zappaichthys harzhauseri, gen. et sp. nov., is described from the middle Miocene (upper Badenian) Leitha Limestone of St. Margarethen in Burgenland, Eisenstadt-Sopron Basin, Austria. It is based on three partially complete, well-preserved articulated skeletons plus a neurocranium that display a unique combination of characters [possession of 29 (10 19) vertebrae; dorsal fin with three solid spines and 16 rays; anal fin with 11 rays; pectoral fin with 20–25 rays; interorbital region of the neurocranium wide; postorbital sector of the neurocranium longer than the orbital one; four ossified pectoral-fin radiais; opercle with a strong pointed spine; subopercle bearing two spines and two short filaments; scales absent] that support its recognition as a new genus of the family Batrachoididae. †Zappaichthys harzhauseri, gen. et sp. nov., is the oldest member of the Batrachoidiformes known to date based on articulated skeletal remains. The fossil record of batrachoidiform fishes is discussed in detail.
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