Sampling of Cenomanian fossil-rich horizons within the La Luna Formation of two localities in the Zulia and Trujillo states (northern Venezuela) yielded numerous shark teeth belonging to various species within the order Lamniformes (Mackerel sharks). Twelve lamniform species were identified including three new species (Squalicorax lalunaensis sp. nov., Squalicorax moodyi sp. nov., Acutalamna karsteni gen. et sp. nov.) and the genus Microcarcharias gen. nov. is proposed to accommodate with the peculiar morphology of the small-sized odontaspidid M. saskatchewanensis. Other taxa reported here include Cretoxyrhina mantelli, Cretolamna sp., cf. Nanocorax sp. and five Squalicorax species left in open nomenclature. This is the first report of chondrichthyans from the mid-Cretaceous of Venezuela and one of the few records of this group from the Cenomanian of South America. The composition of these assemblages suggests some degree of endemism in the La Luna Sea but also possible connexions with the Western Interior Seaway. One of the most striking features of these assemblages is the high anacoracid diversity (eight species) despite the corresponding outer shelf/upper slope palaeoenvironments of the La Luna Formation. The high diversity of these opportunistic predators is probably related to the high diversity of medium to large marine vertebrates that provided food resources.
Keywords Chondrichthyes; Anacoracidae; La Luna Formation; South America; Upper Cretaceous