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Temporal range: Late Jurassic–Late Cretaceous
Thrissops cf formosus 01.jpg
Thrissops formosus
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Actinopterygii
Superorder: Osteoglossomorpha
Genus: Thrissops
Agassiz, 1833

Thrissops is an extinct genus of teleost fish from the Jurassic and Cretaceous periods. Its fossils are known from the Solnhofen limestone, [1] as well as the Kimmeridge clay.

Teleost infraclass of fishes

The teleosts or Teleostei are by far the largest infraclass in the class Actinopterygii, the ray-finned fishes, and make up 96% of all extant species of fish. Teleosts are arranged into about 40 orders and 448 families. Over 26,000 species have been described. Teleosts range from giant oarfish measuring 7.6 m (25 ft) or more, and ocean sunfish weighing over 2 t, to the minute male anglerfish Photocorynus spiniceps, just 6.2 mm (0.24 in) long. Including not only torpedo-shaped fish built for speed, teleosts can be flattened vertically or horizontally, be elongated cylinders or take specialised shapes as in anglerfish and seahorses. Teleosts dominate the seas from pole to pole and inhabit the ocean depths, estuaries, rivers, lakes and even swamps.

The Jurassic was a geologic period and system that spanned 56 million years from the end of the Triassic Period 201.3 million years ago (Mya) to the beginning of the Cretaceous Period 145 Mya. The Jurassic constitutes the middle period of the Mesozoic Era, also known as the Age of Reptiles. The start of the period was marked by the major Triassic–Jurassic extinction event. Two other extinction events occurred during the period: the Pliensbachian-Toarcian extinction in the Early Jurassic, and the Tithonian event at the end; however, neither event ranks among the "Big Five" mass extinctions.

The Cretaceous is a geologic period and system that spans 79 million years from the end of the Jurassic Period 145 million years ago (mya) to the beginning of the Paleogene Period 66 mya. It is the last period of the Mesozoic Era, and the longest period of the Phanerozoic Eon. The Cretaceous Period is usually abbreviated K, for its German translation Kreide.

Thrissops subovatus Thrissops subovatus cm4030.jpg
Thrissops subovatus

Thrissops were fast predatory fish about 60 centimetres (24 in) long, that fed on other bony fish. [2] They had a streamlined body with a deeply cleft tail and only very small pelvic fins. Thrissops was related to the giant Xiphactinus and may have been an ancestor of the modern Osteoglossiformes, the most primitive group of living teleosts, which includes the arapaima. [3]

Pelvic fin

Pelvic fins are paired fins located on the ventral surface of fish. The paired pelvic fins are homologous to the hindlimbs of tetrapods.

<i>Xiphactinus</i> genus of fishes

Xiphactinus is an extinct genus of large predatory marine bony fish that lived during the Late Cretaceous. When alive, the fish would have resembled a gargantuan, fanged tarpon. The species Portheus molossus described by Cope is a junior synonym of X. audax. Skeletal remains of Xiphactinus have come from the Carlile Shale and Greenhorn Limestone of Kansas, and Cretaceous formations all over the East Coast in the United States, as well as Europe, Australia, the Kanguk and Ashville Formations of Canada, and La Luna Formation of Venezuela.

Osteoglossiformes order of fishes

Osteoglossiformes is a relatively primitive order of ray-finned fish that contains two sub-orders, the Osteoglossoidei and the Notopteroidei. All of at least 245 living species inhabit freshwater. They are found in South America, Africa, Australia and southern Asia, having first evolved in Gondwana before that continent broke up.

Related Research Articles

Actinopterygii class of fishes

Actinopterygii, or the ray-finned fishes, constitute a class or subclass of the bony fishes.

Sparidae family of fishes

The Sparidae are a family of fish in the order Perciformes, commonly called sea breams and porgies. The sheepshead, scup, and red seabream are species in this family. Most sparids are deep-bodied compressed fish with a small mouth separated by a broad space from the eye, a single dorsal fin with strong spines and soft rays, a short anal fin, long pointed pectoral fins and rather large firmly attached scales. They are found in shallow temperate and tropical waters and are bottom-dwelling carnivores.

Salmonidae family of fishes

Salmonidae is a family of ray-finned fish, the only living family currently placed in the order Salmoniformes. It includes salmon, trout, chars, freshwater whitefishes, and graylings, which collectively are known as the salmonids. The Atlantic salmon and trout of the genus Salmo give the family and order their names.

Actinopteri group of bony fish

Actinopteri is the sister group of Cladistia. Dating back to the Permian period, the Actinopteri comprise the Chondrostei and the Neopterygii. In other words, the Actinopteri include all extant Actinopterygians, minus the Polypteridae (bichirs). The Actinopteri includes:

Solnhofen Limestone

The Solnhofen Plattenkalk, or Solnhofen Limestone, is a Jurassic Konservat-Lagerstätte that preserves a rare assemblage of fossilized organisms, including highly detailed imprints of soft bodied organisms such as sea jellies. The most familiar fossils of the Solnhofen Plattenkalk include the early feathered theropod dinosaur Archaeopteryx preserved in such detail that they are among the most famous and most beautiful fossils in the world. The Solnhofen beds lie in the German state of Bavaria (Bayern), halfway between Nuremberg (Nürnberg) and Munich (München) and were originally quarried as a source of Lithographic limestone. The Jura Museum situated in Eichstätt, Germany has an extensive exhibit of Jurassic fossils from the quarries of Solnhofen and surroundings, including marine reptiles, pterosaurs, and one specimen of the early bird Archaeopteryx.

The pseudobranch, also pseudobranchia is the reduced first gill arch of a fish as well as a reduced "false" gill in some gastropods.

Prehistoric fish are early fish that are known only from fossil records. They are the earliest known vertebrates, and include the first and extinct fish that lived through the Cambrian to the Quaternary. The study of prehistoric fish is called paleoichthyology. A few living forms, such as the coelacanth are also referred to as prehistoric fish, or even living fossils, due to their current rarity and similarity to extinct forms. Fish which have become recently extinct are not usually referred to as prehistoric fish.

<i>Hypsocormus</i> genus of fishes

Hypsocormus is an extinct genus of teleost fish from the Jurassic period of Europe.

<i>Pholidophorus</i> genus of fishes (fossil)

Pholidophorus is an extinct genus of teleost fish from the Triassic and Jurassic periods of Africa, Europe, and South America.

<i>Leptolepis</i> genus of fishes

Leptolepis is an extinct genus of teleost fish that lived in freshwater and marine environments from the Middle Triassic period until the Early Cretaceous. The genus is one of the earliest recognized teleost genera.

<i>Protobrama</i> genus of fishes

Protobrama is an extinct genus of teleost fish from the Cretaceous period of Lebanon.

Holostei infraclass of fishes

Holostei are bony fish. There are eight species divided among two orders, the Amiiformes represented by a single living species, the Bowfin, and the Lepisosteiformes, represented by seven living species in two genera, the gars. Further species are to be found in the fossil record and the group is often regarded as paraphyletic. Holosteians are closer to teleosts than are the chondrosteans, the other group intermediate between teleosts and cartilaginous fish. The spiracles are reduced to vestigial remnants and the bones are lightly ossified. The thick ganoid scales of the gars are more primitive than those of the bowfin.

Bürgermeister-Müller-Museum museum in Solnhofen, Bavaria, Germany

The Bürgermeister-Müller-Museum is a natural history museum in Solnhofen, Germany. In 1954 the mayor Friedrich Mueller brought his private collection to the public. In 1968 the museum was officially founded and opened in 1970. The museum collection, which extends over two floors, mainly consists of fossils from the Solnhofen Plattenkalk and includes pterosaurs, one of the eleven known specimens of the Jurassic bird Archaeopteryx and an extensive collection of fossil fish. Also, there is a department for lithography.

Glugea is a genus of microsporidian parasites, predominantly infecting fish.

Occithrissops is an extinct genus of prehistoric ray-finned fish of the Jurassic, known for its fearsome yet small appearance. The genus name of Occithrissops derives from the Latin word "Occi" (killing) and the Greek words "thriss" (fish) and "ṓps" (“face”). Similar in relationship to the Thrissops, it was a slightly larger predatory teleost fish with serrated pelvic fins, a cleft tail, and a bony tongue similar to the Arapaima and formerly mentioned Thrissops, bearing small teeth for catching small slippery prey like squid, invertebrates and fish. The bony tongue assisted the fish in consuming hard shelled invertebrates which included small nektonic Jurassic ammonites, which despite the growing decline of ammonoids were still prevalent and plentiful for their time.

Diversity of fish

Fish are very diverse animals and can be categorised in many ways. This article is an overview of some of ways in which fish are categorised. Although most fish species have probably been discovered and described, about 250 new ones are still discovered every year. According to FishBase, 33,100 species of fish had been described by April 2015. That is more than the combined total of all other vertebrate species: mammals, amphibians, reptiles and birds.

Passive electrolocation in fish

Passive electrolocation is a process where certain species of fish or aquatic amphibians can detect electric fields using specialized electroreceptors to detect and to locate the source of an external electric field in its environment creating the electric field. These external electric fields can be produced by any bioelectrical process in an organism, especially by actions of the nerves or muscles of fish, or indeed by the specially developed electric organs of fish. Other fields are induced by movement of a conducting organism through the earth's magnetic field, or from atmospheric electricity.

Chloride cell

Chloride cells are cells in the gills of teleost fishes which pump excessive sodium and chloride ions out into the sea against a concentration gradient in marine fish. Alternatively, in the gills of freshwater teleost fish, they pump sodium and chloride ions into the fish, also against a concentration gradient.

Dorsetichthys is an extinct genus of teleost fish from the Early Jurassic period of Europe.


  1. Solnhofen und seine Fossilien: Thrissops Archived 2010-04-29 at the Wayback Machine .
  2. Orvar Nybelin, "Versuch einer taxonomischen revision der jurassischen Fischgattung Thrissops Agassiz", Nature (1964)
  3. Palmer, D., ed. (1999). The Marshall Illustrated Encyclopedia of Dinosaurs and Prehistoric Animals. London: Marshall Editions. p. 39. ISBN   1-84028-152-9.