Named By: Morris & Roberts - 1862.
Classification: Chordata, Chondrichthyes, Holocephali, Chimaeriformes, Deltoptychiidae.
Species: D. acutus, D. gibberuius.
Size: Up to 45 centimetres long.
Known locations: British Isles.
Time period: Throughout the Carboniferous.
Fossil representation: Several specimens.
cartilaginous fish and therefore relative of sharks and rays,
Deltoptychius is often seen as an early rat tail.
For a modern
analogy, Deltoptychius would be a more primitive
version of a modern
Chimaera monstrosa. These kinds of fish are
usually deep water
species that swim around in virtual darkness as very little to no
sunlight penetrates to these ocean depths. The large round eyes of
Deltoptychius would have processed whatever
available light there was,
though Deltoptychius may have found its food by
scent. The thin tail
means that Deltoptychius would not have been a
powerful swimmer and
would have been restricted to slow prey of scavenging bodies of other
Later on towards the mid Jurassic, new kinds Chimaeriformes such as Ischyodus had appeared, and these were near identical to the modern Chimaera monstrosa.
- Catalogue of the Fossil Fishes in the British Museum (Natural History) Part 1 1-613, A. S. Woodward - 1889.