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Temporal range: Silurian - Early Devonian
Tolypelepis undulata.jpg
The type species, Tolypelepis undulata
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Superclass: Agnatha
Class: Pteraspidomorphi
Subclass: Heterostraci
Order: Tolypelepidida
Denison 1964
Family: Tolypelepididae
Kiær 1932
  • Tolypelepidiformes

Tolypelepidida is an extinct order of heterostracan vertebrates. These armored jawless fish superficially resemble their relatives, the cyathaspids, though, researchers place the tolypelepids as a sister group to the cyathaspids and the pteraspidids (and both groups' daughter taxa). [1] A recent study by Lundgren and Blom in 2013 implies that the order is paraphyletic, with the type genus, Tolypelepis, being the sister taxon of Cyathaspidiformes. [2] The typical tolypelepid had a carapace formed from dorsal and ventral plates, and a scaly tail.

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Anaspida is an extinct group of primitive jawless vertebrates that lived primarily during the Silurian period, and became extinct soon after the start of the Devonian. They were classically regarded as the ancestors of lampreys. Anaspids were small marine agnathans that lacked a heavy bony shield and paired fins, but have a striking highly hypocercal tail. They first appeared in the early Silurian, and flourished until the early Devonian, when they disappear from the fossil record.

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Galeaspida is an extinct taxon of jawless marine and freshwater fish. The name is derived from galea, the Latin word for helmet, and refers to their massive bone shield on the head. Galeaspida lived in shallow, fresh water and marine environments during the Silurian and Devonian times in what is now Southern China, Tibet and Vietnam. Superficially, their morphology appears more similar to that of Heterostraci than Osteostraci, there being currently no evidence that the galeaspids had paired fins. However, Galeaspida are in fact regarded as being more closely related to Osteostraci, based on the closer similarity of the morphology of the braincase.

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Panamintaspis snowi is an extinct species of pteraspidid heterostracan agnathan which existed during the early Middle Devonian period of Death Valley, California. Fossils are found in Late Emsian-aged marine strata of the Lost Burro Formation. P. snowi strongly resembles Pteraspis, though while it was originally described as a member of the same family, Pteraspididae, a recent phylogenetic reassessment of the order Pteraspidiformes places P. snowi within the paraphyletic family "Protopeteraspidae," as the sister taxon of the suborder Pteraspidoidei.


Cardipeltis is an extinct genus of heterostracan agnathan from marine strata of early Devonian of Utah, and Wyoming. Species of Cardipeltis superficially resemble those of cyathaspids in having a flattened body and indistinct head covered by a large, broad, guitar pick or heart-shaped dorsal shield, and a long, scaly tail. Unlike cyathaspids, which all have a single ventral plate, however, the ventral shield of Cardipeltis is a mosaic composed of large scales.


Pteraspidiformes is an extinct order of heterostracan agnathan vertebrates known from extensive fossil remains primarily from Early Devonian strata of Europe and North America, and from Upper Silurian Canada.


Cyathaspidiformes is an extinct order of heterostracan vertebrates known from extensive fossil remains primarily from Silurian to Early Devonian strata of Europe, and North America, and from Early Devonian marine strata of Siberia.


Amphiaspidida is a taxon of extinct cyathaspidid heterostracan agnathans whose fossils are restricted to Lower Devonian marine strata of Siberia near the Taimyr Peninsula. Some authorities treat it as a suborder of Cyathaspidiformes, while others treat it as an order in its own right as "Amphiaspidiformes." In life, they are thought to be benthic animals that lived most of their lives mostly buried in the sediment of a series of hypersaline lagoons. Amphiaspids are easily distinguished from other heterostracans in that all of the plates of the cephalothorax armor are fused into a single, muff-like unit, so that the forebody of the living animal would have looked like a potpie or a hot waterbottle with a pair of small, or degenerated eyes sometimes flanked by preorbital openings, a pair of branchial openings for exhaling, and a simple, slit-like, or tube-like mouth.


Cyathaspidida is a taxon of extinct cyathaspidiform heterostracan agnathans whose fossils are found in Silurian to Lower Devonian marine strata of Europe and North America. In life, they are thought to be benthic animals that lived most of their lives either mostly buried in or resting directly on top of the substrate.


Anglaspis is an extinct genus of cyathaspidiform heterostracan agnathan. Fossils are found in marine strata of Europe, from the late Silurian period until genus' extinction during the Early Devonian. As with other cyathaspidiforms, individuals of Anglaspis had dorsal and ventral plates covering the forebody, gill pouches, and nasal openings that lay on the roof of the oral cavity.


Cyathaspididae is an extinct family in the heterostracan order Cyathaspidiformes.


Ctenaspidae is a family of extinct cyathaspidiform heterostracan agnathans in the suborder Cyathaspidida.


Ariaspidae is a family of extinct cyathaspidiform heterostracan agnathans in the suborder Cyathaspidida.


  1. Janvier, Philippe (1997) Heterostraci The Tree of Life Web Project.
  2. Lundgren, Mette, and Henning Blom. "Phylogenetic relationships of the cyathaspidids (Heterostraci)." GFF 135.1 (2013): 74-84.