†Neilpeartia ceratoi, gen. et sp. nov., a new antennariid frogfish, is described based on a single, well-preserved, articulated specimen from the Ypresian of Bolca, Italy. The morpho-anatomical analysis of this nicely preserved fossil reveals a series of features that unambiguously support its recognition as a new member of the lophiiform family Antennariidae, including body extensively covered with tiny, close-set, bifurcated dermal spinules, illicium considerably elongate and broadly spinulose in its lower portion, bulbous esca absent, endopterygoid, epural, and caudal peduncle present; caudal fin with nine branched rays, 19 vertebrae, 13 dorsal-fin rays, eight anal-fin rays, nine pectoral-fin rays, and five bifurcated pelvic-fin rays. †Neilpeartia, gen. nov., is assigned to the subfamily Antennariinae, and seems to form a sister pair with the extant genus Fowlerichthys, which in turn represents the sister clade to all the other antennariine taxa. Consequently, †Neilpeartia ceratoi, gen. et sp. nov., should be regarded as the oldest known unquestionable evidence of crown antennariids in the fossil record. Paleoecological and evolutionary implications are also discussed.
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