From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Temporal range: Early Triassic-Mid Jurassic
~252.3–164.7 Ma
Saurichthys fossil
Scientific classification

Agassiz, 1834
  • More than 30 species

Ichthyorhynchus Bellotti, 1857[1]
Belonorhynchus Bronn, 1858[1]
Giffonus Costa, 1862[1]
Brevisaurichthys Beltan, 1972[2]
Systolichthys Beltan, 1972[2]

Saurichthys curionii fossil
Saurichthys seefeldensis attacking Preondactylus

Saurichthys ('lizard fish') is an extinct genus of ray-finned fish from the Triassic period. Fossils have been found on all continents except South America and Antarctica.[3] Saurichthys was an elongated, streamlined, fish about 1 metre (3.3 ft) long, and looked similar to the modern pike. Its dorsal and anal fins were placed opposite each other well back on the body, and the tail was symmetrical. These features would have made it a powerful swimmer, and it is presumed to have hunted in a similar way to the pike, attacking from an ambush at high speed. Its jaws were extremely long, making up a third of the total body length, and ended in a sharp, beak-like tip.[4]

Fossil evidence, in the form of a bolus of bones in the same strata, indicates that Saurichthys attacked, or possibly scavenged the corpses of marine reptiles such as Langobardisaurus.[citation needed]

Their closest modern-day relatives include the sturgeons, paddlefish, and the bowfins.



  1. ^ a b c Stensiö, E. (1925). "Triassic Fishes from Spitzebergen, Part II". Kungliga Svenska Vetenskapsakademiens Handlinga. 2: 1–126.
  2. ^ a b Cartanyà, J., ed. (1999). An overview of the Middle Triassic actinopterygians from Alcover, Mont-ral and El Pinetell (Catalonia, Spain). In: G. Arratia and H. P. Schultze (eds.) Mesozoic Fishes 2—Systematics and Fossil Record: Verlag Dr. F. Pfeil, München. pp. 535–551.
  3. ^ Saurichthys at
  4. ^ Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 36. ISBN 1-84028-152-9.
  5. ^ a b Discovery of two new species of primitive fishes
  6. ^ Fei-Xiang Wu; Yuan-Lin Sun; Geng-Yu Fang (2018). "A new species of Saurichthys from the Middle Triassic (Anisian) of southwestern China". Vertebrata PalAsiatica. 56 (4): 273–294. doi:10.19615/j.cnki.1000-3118.171023.
  7. ^ Fossilworks: Saurichthys Agassiz 1843

Further reading[edit]

  • Romano, C., Kogan, I., Jenks, J., Jerjen, I. & Brinkmann, W. 2012. Saurichthys and other fossil fishes from the late Smithian (Early Triassic) of Bear Lake County (Idaho, USA), with a discussion of saurichthyid palaeogeography and evolution. Bulletin of Geosciences 87(3), 543–570.

External links[edit]