Temporal range: Middle Devonian
|Species:||† J. rhenaniae|
Jaekelopterus rhenaniae ("Otto Jaekel's wing from the Rhineland") is an extinct species of eurypterid. At an estimated length of 2.5 metres (8 ft 2 in), it is one of the two largest arthropods ever discovered (the other is a giant millipede-like animal, Arthropleura, although which animal was larger is unclear). The second largest eurypterid known is a species of Pterygotus. Jaekelopterus lived approximately 390 million years ago. Although called a "sea scorpion", the strata the fossils were found in suggest that the living animal dwelled in fresh-water rivers and lakes, rather than in saltwater seas. The animal was described in November 2007 by Simon Braddy and Markus Poschmann of the University of Bristol in the journal Biology Letters; they found a 46-centimetre (18 in) chelicera (claw-like mouth part), and estimated the total size of the animal based on the proportions of this claw.[Note 1] When extended, the chelicerae would have added 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) to its length.
- Simon J Braddy, Markus Poschmann & O. Erik Tetlie (2007). "Giant claw reveals the largest ever arthropod". Biology Letters 4 (1): 106–109. doi:10.1098/rsbl.2007.0491. PMC 2412931. PMID 18029297.
- Daniel Cressey (November 21, 2007). "Giant sea scorpion discovered". Nature. doi:10.1038/news.2007.272. Retrieved June 10, 2013.
- "Giant sea scorpion claw unearthed". BBC News. November 21, 2007. Retrieved June 9, 2013.
- Roxanne Khamsi (November 21, 2007). "Giant claw points to monster sea scorpion". New Scientist.