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Acta Palaeontologica Polonica








The fish genus Esox (Teleostei, Esocidae) has been recorded from thirty late Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene localities where forty-one bone-bearing strata are exposed in the territory of Ukraine, Russian Federation, and Republic of Moldova. From eight localities the genus is reported or described for the first time. A detailed description and morphological analysis of the currently available osteological material demonstrates the presence of four species in the studied area: (i) Esox sibiricus (late Miocene–early Pliocene); (ii) Esox moldavicus (early Pliocene–early Pleistocene); (iii) Esox nogaicus sp. nov. (early Pleistocene, Calabrian); (iv) Esox lucius (early–middle Pleistocene). The Northern Pike (Esox lucius) is recorded for the first time in the early Pleistocene fossil record of southeastern Europe. The new species E. nogaicus is characterized by a massive dentary with deep symphysis and the possible presence of a pair of fixed canine-like teeth near the anterior end of the vomer. Such canine teeth are seen also in certain species known only from North America, the extant Esox masquinongy, the fossil species E. columbianus, and an unnamed Miocene form. However, unlike in E. nogaicus, in the three North American species fixed canines also occur anteriorly on the palatines. The Miocene, Pliocene, and Pleistocene pikes from southeastern Europe document a greater diversity of morphologies in the past than exists today in the pike species of Europe. Changes in the predominant species of Esox in southeastern Europe are hypothesized to be driven by changing global and regional climates.


Author Posting. © Oleksandr M. Kovalchuk, Mark V. H. Wilson, and Terry C. Grande, 2017. This article is posted here by permission of Terry C. Grande for personal use, not for redistribution. The article was published in Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, vol. 62, no. 1, 2017,

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