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Jaekelopterus rhenaniae
Temporal range: Middle Devonian
Jaekelopterus rhenaniae.jpg
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Merostomata
Order: Eurypterida
Superfamily: Pterygotioidea
Family: Pterygotidae
Genus: Jaekelopterus
Waterston, 1964
Species: † J. rhenaniae
Binomial name
Jaekelopterus rhenaniae
(Jaekel, 1914)

Jaekelopterus rhenaniae ("Otto Jaekel's wing from the Rhineland") was a species of the extinct arthropod group Eurypterida. 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 fossil has been called a "sea scorpion", the strata in which it was found 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.[1][2][Note 1] When extended, the chelicerae would have added 1 metre (3 ft 3 in) to its length.[1]

The animal's fossilised remains were discovered in the Early Devonian (Emsian) Klerf Formation Lagerstätte of Willwerath near Prüm, Germany.[3][4]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ The maxim Ex pede Herculem expresses this principle of proportionality.


  1. ^ a b 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. 
  2. ^ Daniel Cressey (November 21, 2007). "Giant sea scorpion discovered". Nature. doi:10.1038/news.2007.272. Retrieved June 10, 2013. 
  3. ^ "Giant sea scorpion claw unearthed". BBC News. November 21, 2007. Retrieved June 9, 2013. 
  4. ^ Roxanne Khamsi (November 21, 2007). "Giant claw points to monster sea scorpion". New Scientist.