Temporal range: 58.7–0Ma Thanetian to Present
The moonfish of the genus Mene, the sole extant genus of the family Menidae, are disk-shaped fish which bear a vague resemblance to gourami, thanks to their thread-like pelvic fins. Today, the genus is represented only by Mene maculata of the Indo-Pacific, where it is a popular food fish, especially in the Philippines, where it is known as bilong-bilong.
As a genus, Mene has a long fossil history, with species found in marine sediments throughout the Cenozoic Era. The earliest accepted species, M. purdyi from the Paleocene of Peru, resemble later species, such as M. rhombea of the Monte Bolca lagerstätte, and even the living species, M. maculata. Experts remain undecided whether the Tunisian species, M. phosphatica is from the Lower Paleocene, thus making it older than M. purdyi, or whether it is from the Ypresian epoch of the Eocene. Almost all of the species are known primarily from the Paleogene; the Neogene record is rather sparse, if not totally nonexistent, with some otoliths found in Miocene strata, and no whole or even partial specimens known from Pliocene or Pleistocene strata.
Beyond being a group of perciform fish, the affinity of Mene remains obscure. Anatomical and recent molecular studies strongly suggest a relationship with the pomfrets, dolphinfishes, and the jacks. The genus' ancestry is particularly obscure, though it is suggested that some Cretaceous acanthomorph fish, particularly Aipichthyoides of Cretaceous Lebanon, was close to Mene's ancestry.
- Sepkoski, Jack (2002). "A compendium of fossil marine animal genera". Bulletins of American Paleontology 364: p.560. Retrieved 2007-12-25.
- Small-scale fisheries of San Miguel Bay, Philippines: options for management and research. ISBN 971-10-2208-7.
- "A new species of Mene (Perciformes: Menidae) from the Paleocene of South America, with notes on paleoenvironment and a brief review of menid fishes."
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