Actinopterygii, Palaeonisciformes, Saurichthyidae
66 mm long 18 mm across back of skull. Paralepidotus 20 mm by 18 mm
Xingyi, Guizhou Province of China
The name Saurichthys means “lizard fish”. This was a
relatively slender fish with a rostrum full of sharp teeth (see
closeup) by which it plied its predatory trade in the Triassic.
Saurichthys was relatively cosmopolitan, found in deposits on all
continents except Antarctica. Notice the detail in the articulated
jaws and skull. Saurichthys averaged about a meter in length, and
is likened to the modern pike fish, and may have ambushed its prey
in a similar manner. Paleontologists speculate they may have even
scavenged of pterosaurs such as Preondactylus.
the lower right, on a somewhat lower bedding plane we have some
of the ornate scales of a Paralepidotus. Without further preparation,
it is impossible to tell how much of this second fish is preserved.
Material from the Triassic like this and the more frequently-seen
Keichousaurus are often veined with a white crystal. Here that vein
posed a zone of weakness, which required repair to the matrix which
is relatively unobtrusive. Both of these fish died out by the end
of the Triassic.
see: Actinopterygii Fish