We document for the first time Miocene corals from the Siamaná and Jimol formations of the Cocinetas Basin in La Guajira Peninsula, northern Colombia. This is the first of two contributions dedicated to the description and detailed illustration of morphospecies collected during two scientific expeditions (2011, 2014) to the remote region. Here we report coral morphospecies attributed to the families Acroporidae, Agathiphylliidae, Astrocoeniidae, Caryophylliidae, Diploastraeidae, Merulinidae, and Montastraeidae. Eighteen species belonging to these seven families, included in nine genera, are described. Fifteen species are assigned to established taxa, while three remain in open nomenclature. Of the species identified, only Montastraea cavernosa (Linnaeus, 1767) exists today. The coral taxa described are typical of the Oligocene–Miocene transition and were important components of shallow-water reefs in the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico region during this period. The occurrence of Agathiphyllia spp., Antiguastrea, and Diploastrea spp. confirms the presence of these genera in the Miocene of the Southern Caribbean. Coral assemblages suggest that the La Guajira coral community thrived in calm and shallow waters.
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Vol. 93 • No. 1