Named By: Georg Graf zu Münster - 1843.
Classification: Chordata, Chondrichthyes, Elasmobranchii, Ctenacanthiformes, Ctenacanthidae.
Species: W. striatula (type) W. borealis, W. ocoyae.
Size: Approximately 1 meter long.
Known locations: Germany. England.
Time period: Wuchiapingian of the Permian to Anisian of the Triassic.
Fossil representation: Several specimens usually of the teeth and spines but complete impressions of the whole body are known.
known as the Zechstein shark, Wodnika appears to
have been very much
like a modern day bullshark. In life Wodnika was
a small shark
would have swam in the
Zechstein Sea that covered much of northern Europe, where Wodnika
likely patrolled near the bottom looking for prey like crustaceans.
When found Wodnika would use its rounded teeth to
crush the hard
shells of its prey to get at the softer flesh within.
Although a fossil specimen of the cartilaginous skeleton of Wodnika is known, the more common fossils are the aforementioned rounded teeth and the dorsal spines. These spines rose up in front of both the first and second dorsal fins, and while usually envisioned as support for these fins, they would have made Wodnika a difficult mouthful for any potential predators. Wodnika is also known to have had claspers, appendages on the underside of the shark for the purpose of sperm transfer in reproduction. This also allows for identification between males and females of the species as females lack these claspers.