Paralbula casei Estes
|Description: The crusher teeth of this primitive bonefish, Paralbula casei, are reportedly more abundant insitu than it is recovered from the stream by screening. The crusher teeth of this enigmatic fish are round in outline with a domed crushing surface. The tooth caps are enamel coated and marked with faint radiating surface ornamentation. On the opposite side, these teeth have a slight concaved cavity. Generally, the diameter of these diminutive teeth is about 2 mm (about .12 in.).
The jaw plates of the bonefish are roughly oval on outline and display randomly spaced but similarly sized teeth.
Commonality: The teeth of the bonefish are somewhat uncommon at Big Brook, probably due to the small size of their teeth. A fine mesh screen should be utilized if one wishes to recover them.
Similar fossils: Occasionally, the teeth of this fish are confused with the vomerine teeth of the drumfish, Anomaeodus phaseolus. The two types of teeth can be differentiated by the fact that bonefish teeth are ornamented while the pycnodont has teeth that are smooth. The teeth of the pycnodont are also the larger of the two.
Size: The bonefish reached about .5 meter (about 1.5 feet) in length.
Notes: The fossil bonefish probably traveled, as it does today, in loose schools on the bottom of the sea floor, rooting for mollusks, crustaceans, and sea urchins using it's crusher teeth to extract the edible parts of their prey. They are related to the tarpon.
|Crushing tooth plate|
a. Top b. Side