Megalograptus

Name: Megalograptus ‭(‬Big writing‭)‬.
Phonetic: Meg-ah-lo-grap-eh-rus.
Named By: ‭ ‬Miller‭ - ‬1974.
Classification: Arthropoda,‭ ‬Merostomata,‭ ‬Eurypterida,‭ ‬Megalograptoidea,‭ ‬Megalograptidae.
Species: M.‭ ‬welchi‭ (‬type‭)‬,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬alveolatus,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬ohioensis,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬shideleri,‭ ‬M.‭ ‬williamsae.
Diet: Carnivore.
Size: About‭ ‬1.2‭ ‬meters long from the head to the tip of the telson‭ (‬final segment of the tail‭)‬.
Known locations: USA.
Time period: Mid to late Ordovician.
Fossil representation: ‭M‬any individuals,‭ ‬but often of partial remains.

       First mistaken for a graptolite thanks to only a very spiny leg being discovered,‭ ‬Megalograptus is now known to have been a large eurypterid,‭ ‬colloquially known as a‭ ‘‬sea scorpion‭’‬.‭ ‬Megalograptus is the type genus of the Megalograptoidea,‭ ‬a group of eurypterids which are primarily identified by the arrangement of spikes on their third pair of legs.‭ ‬It is thought that the large spines on the various appendages helped Megalograptus to locate prey hidden within the soft sediments,‭ ‬and hidden from sight.‭ ‬Like all eurypterids Megalograptus had a telson,‭ ‬the final segment of the tail that is analogous to the‭ ‘‬sting‭’ ‬we can see on modern land scorpions.‭ ‬However in Megalograptus this is not expected to have formed a venomous sting,‭ ‬and instead Megalograptus probably just ripped prey apart as it ate.
       Megalograptus Approached the larger end of the eurypterid scale though larger eurypterids are known,‭ ‬and these in turn may have hunted Megalograptus,‭ ‬especially if they had recently shed their skin and their new exterior had not yet hardened.‭ ‬Other possible predators may have included large orthocones such as Cameroceras.‭ ‬Like with other cephalopods,‭ ‬these would have had hard keratinous beaks capable of crunching through even the hardened exoskeletons of eurypterids


More information on these - Eurypterus, Jaekelopterus, Megalograptus, Megarachne, Pterygotus.

Further reading
-‭ ‬Merostomata‭ ‬-‭ ‬Treatise on Invertebrate Paleontology,‭ ‬Part P Arthropoda‭ ‬2,‭ ‬Chelicerata,‭ ‬P36.‭ ‬-‭ ‬L.‭ ‬Stormer‭ ‬-‭ ‬1955.



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