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Temporal range: Middle Triassic
Askeptosaurus italicus fossil
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Order: Thalattosauria
Family: Askeptosauridae
Genus: Askeptosaurus

A. italicus Nopcsa, 1925 (type)

Askeptosaurus is an extinct genus of aquatic reptile related to the thalattosaurian group. Their remains have been found in Italy and Switzerland.


Askeptosaurus was a very thin, elongated creature, that probably swam like an eel. Its tail was very long, accounting for around half of the animal's total length of 2 metres (6.6 ft), and its webbed feet would have been well suited for steering itself through the water. Judging from its long jaws, it primarily ate fish.[1]

Askeptosaurus probably hunted in deep waters, because it had large eyes suited to conditions of low light. Like ichthyosaurs, it also had a protective bony ring around the eyes, which would have prevented them from collapsing under the immense water pressure of great depths.[1]


  1. ^ a b Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 83. ISBN 1-84028-152-9. 

External links[edit]

  • The anatomy of Askeptosaurus italicus from the Middle Triassic of Monte San Giorgio and the interrelationships of thalattosaurs (Reptilia, Diapsida) [1]