The Zweikofel Formation of the Rattendorf Group in the Carnic Alps (Austria) is 95–102 m thick and consists of a cyclic succession of thin- to thick-bedded fossiliferous limestone and intercalated thin intervals of siliciclastic sediment. The siliciclastic intervals were deposited in a shallow marine nearshore environment. The variety of carbonate facies indicates deposition in a shallow neritic, normal-saline, low- to high-energy environment. The Zweikofel Formation is characterized by a paracyclic vertical arrangement of facies and represents sedimentary sequences that are not well understood elsewhere in the Tethys. Fusulinids and conodonts from the upper Grenzland and Zweikofel formations in the Carnic Alps clearly suggest that what has been called ‘Sakmarian’ in the Tethys includes both the Sakmarian and Artinskian stages of the Global Time scale. Fusulinids from the lower part of the Zweikofel Formation at Zweikofel closely resemble those of the Grenzland Formation and approximately correlate with the upper part of the Sakmarian and lower part of the Artinskian of the Global Time scale. The upper part of the Zweikofel Formation correlates approximately with the lower-middle (?) parts of the Artinskian Stage of the Global Time scale. A new regional Hermagorian Stage of the Tethyan scale is proposed between the Asselian and Yakhtashian. The lower boundary of the Hermagorian Stage is proposed to be located at the base of bed 81 in the 1015 section of Darvaz (Tadzhikistan). The boundary between the Hermagorian and Yakhtashian stages is placed at the base of bed 73 in the Zweikofel section at Zweikofel, Carnic Alps. In the Darvaz region, Tadzhikistan, the type area for the Yakhtashian Stage, this boundary has never been precisely defined. The entire fusulinid assemblage of the upper part of the Grenzland and Zweikofel formations reported herein includes 62 species of 18 genera, of which one subgenus and 12 species and subspecies are new. Copyright © 2012 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.