The shallow-water (sublittoral) coarse sandy sediments of the Hartl Formation (Langhian, Middle Miocene) which outcrop north of Eisenstadt (Burgenland, Austria) have yielded abundant disarticulated ophiuroid material, mostly large streptospondylous vertebrae. These are here assigned to the Gorgonocephalidae, on the basis of arm branching and the presence of an open ventral groove along the entire arm. Oral plates found associated with these vertebrae are described as a new species, Astrodendrum? pilleri n. sp. The fossil record of gorgonocephalid ophiuroids is very poor; the present material represents the first unquestionable record of this group from the Central Paratethys, and at that, the stratigraphically oldest. To date, only few ophiuroids have been recorded from Neogene strata of the Paratethys; these are listed in an Appendix.

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Cainozoic research

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Andreas Kroh. (2002). First record of gorgonocephalid ophiuroids (Echinodermata) from the Middle Miocene of the Central Paratethys. Cainozoic research, 2(1/2), 143–155.