(Named after the legendary ancestor of the Crow Nation).
Named By: Lesueur - 1818.
Synonyms: Ctenopetalus occidentalis, Ctenoptychius occidentalis.
Classification: Chordata, Chondrichthyes.
Species: B. occidentalis (type), B. montana.
Size: Up to 70 centimetres long.
Known locations: USA, including Kansas - Zeandale Limestone Formation, Montana - Heath Formation, and Nebraska.
Time period: Baskirian to Gzhelian of the Carboniferous.
Fossil representation: Almost complete individuals.
Belantsea would essentially have been the Carboniferous equivalent of a parrotfish. The body was bulky with strong muscular fins, and an underdeveloped tail which all indicate a preference for manoeuvrability over speed. The teeth are triangular and tightly packed to form a dental arrangement similar to a beak which would have easily broken hard exteriors of invertebrates and bryozoans. Altogether, these features suggest that Belantsea was a reef fish that manoeuvred over prey that could not escape by speed, while also possibly hiding amongst rocks to protect itself from other larger predatory fish, including early sharks.
- New petalodonts (Chondrichthyes) from the Upper Mississippian Bear Gulch Limestone (Namurian E2b) of Montana.- Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 9(3):350-368 - Richard Lund - 1989.