Viper Predator Fish Fossil Gluttony with Two Eaten Prey Fish

Fossil Fish in Fossil Fish

Eurypholis boissieri (viper fish) with Hajulia sp.

Superclass Osteichthyes, Class Actinopterygii, Order Alepisauriformes

Geological Time: Middle Cretaceous, Cenomanian Stage (95 million years ago)

Size: Eurypholis: 115 mm Hajulia: 25 mm and 45 mm

Fossil Site: Lebanese Lagerstätte, Haqel, Lebanon

Eurypholis Viper Predator Fish Fossil The Eurypholis boissieri fish fossil shown here is betrayed as a predator by its wide gape and needle sharp teeth, allowing it to easily engulf smaller prey fish. The flanks carry a line of large bony scales, readily visible in the accompanying photos. This genus went extinct by the Upper Cretaceous. Hajulia is a small fish that went extinct in the Cretaceous, but is possibly related to the recent genus Pterothrissus. The ingested Hajulia fish fossils pair could have been too much for the Eurypholis to handle, leading to the death of the predator. Note that while the larger eaten fish is in the usual head-first engulfment position, the smaller was apparently eaten tail first, with the fin spines possibly chocking the Eurypholis.

click fossil pictures to enlarge

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