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Temporal range: Changhsingian-Induan
Hovasaurus BW.jpg
Life restoration of Hovasaurus boulei
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Family: Tangasauridae
Genus: Hovasaurus
Piveteau 1926
Type species
Hovasaurus boulei

Hovasaurus is an extinct genus of diapsid reptile belonging to the order Eosuchia. It lived in what is now Madagascar during the Late Permian and Early Triassic, being a survivor of the Permian–Triassic extinction event and the paleontologically youngest member of the Tangasauridae.[1] Fossils have been found in the Permian Lower and Triassic Middle Sakamena Formations of the Sakamena Group.


Specimen with gastroliths
Hovasaurus (5) and other Triassic marine predators[2]

Hovasaurus resembled a slender lizard, and was around 50 centimetres (20 in) long, of which two thirds was taken up by its long tail. It was well adapted to an aquatic life, with the tail being laterally flattened like that of a sea snake. Some stones have been found in the abdomen of fossil Hovasaurus, indicating the creatures swallowed these for ballast, preventing them from floating to the surface when hunting fish.[3]


  1. ^ Ketchum, H. F.; Barrett, P. M. (2004). "New reptile material from the Lower Triassic of Madagascar: implications for the Permian–Triassic extinction event". Canadian Journal of Earth Sciences. 44 (1): 1–8. doi:10.1139/e03-084.
  2. ^ Scheyer et al. (2014): Early Triassic Marine Biotic Recovery: The Predators' Perspective. PLoS ONE https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0088987
  3. ^ Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 85. ISBN 1-84028-152-9.

Further reading[edit]

  • Currie, P. J. (1981). "Hovasaurus boulei, an aquatic eosuchian from the Upper Permian of Madagascar". Palaeontographica Africana. 24: 99–168. hdl:10539/16296.
  • D. Lambert, D. Naish and E. Wyse 2001, "Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and prehistoric life", p. 77, Dorling Kindersley Limited, London. ISBN 0-7513-0955-9