¤Lycopterid Fish

Lycoptera davidi was a small fish from China, from an extinct genus, family and order! This fossil was another present and sat unidentified until recently. Lycoptera lived though the Upper Jurassic to the Lower Cretaceous and were bony, ray-finned fish.

 

HABITAT AND DISTRIBUTION

Lycoptera davidi were found in northeast China, Korea, Mongolia and Siberia. As they were a freshwater species their preferred habitats would have been freshwater lakes.

 

DESCRIPTION

Lycoptera davidi was a long, narrow fish with a large rounded head. I cannot seem to find much information on this species but some of the larger fossils measure up to 80mm, including my specimen! The pectoral fin was rather large in comparison to the pelvic fin. The anal fin was large, becoming shorter towards the v-shaped tail (caudal fin). The dorsal fin was small and set very far back on the body, in fact it mirrored the anal fin. Lycopteras (as with all Teleostei fishes) had a mobile premaxilla (small bones at the tip of the upper jaw) which was unattached to the main skull. This meant Lycoptera fish could protrude their mouths, lowering the pressure inside. This meant that prey was sucked inside as the maxilla (upper jaw bone) and lower jaw were closed.

 

DIET, BEHAVIOUR AND REPRODUCTION

Some of the larger Lycoptera would have eaten small fish and insects, but Lycoptera davidi would have had a diet of plankton. Due to fossils containing multiple specimens, Lycoptera davidi is believed to have been a shoaling fish.

 

OTHER NOTABLE FACTS

Lycoptera davidi was present during the Early Cretaceous, approximately 125 - 121 million years ago. 16 species have been described although not all are thought to be valid.

 

STATUS

Lycoptera davidi is listed by the IUCN as Extinct, no members of its genus, family or order are alive today.