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Temporal range: Early Jurassic, 183–125Ma
Lepidotes elvensis.JPG
Fossil specimen of L. elvensis
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Clade: Lepisosteiformes
Genus: Lepidotes
Agassiz, 1832[1]
Type species
Lepidotes gigas
Agassiz, 1832

L. elvensis (Blainville, 1818) (orig. Cyprinus)
L. gigas Agassiz, 1832
L. semiserratus Agassiz, 1836
L. bülowianus Jaekel, 1929

Lepidotes (previously known as Lepidotus)[3] is an extinct genus of semionotid neopterygian ray-finned fish from the Jurassic period (Toarcian age) and Early Cretaceous. Fossils have been found in marine sediments of France, England, and Germany,[2] and in Early Cretaceous sediments of Brazil[4] and Bornholm, Denmark (Jydegaard Formation).[5]

Life restoration of Lepidotes maximus

Inhabiting both freshwater lakes and shallow seas, Lepidotes was typically about 30 centimetres (12 in) long. The body was covered with thick, enamelled scales.[6] Batteries of peg-like teeth enabled Lepidotes to crush the shells of its molluscan prey.

Lepidotes was one of the earliest fish in which the upper jawbones were no longer attached to the jugal bone. This allowed the jaws to be stretched into a 'tube' so that the fish could suck in prey from a greater distance than in previous species.[6] This system is still seen in some modern fish, such as carp.


  1. ^ Agassiz, L. (1832), Untersuchungen über die fossilen Fische der Lias-Formation. Jahrbuch für Mineralogie, Geognosie, Geologie und Petrefaktenkunde 3: 145
  2. ^ a b López-Arbarello, A. (2012). "Phylogenetic Interrelationships of Ginglymodian Fishes (Actinopterygii: Neopterygii)." PLoS ONE, 7(7): e39370. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0039370
  3. ^ Hunterian Museum Geology Collections. "Lepidotes".
  4. ^ John G. Maisey, Discovering Fossil Fishes, 1996:150, 152.
  5. ^ Bonde, N.; Cristiansen, P. (2003). "New dinosaurs from Denmark". Comptes Rendus Paleovol. 2 (13). doi:10.1016/S1631-0683(03)00009-5. 
  6. ^ a b Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 37. ISBN 1-84028-152-9.