Named By: Louis Agassiz - 1835/1843?
Classification: Chordata, Actinopterygii, Cheirolepiformes, Cheirolepidae.
Species: C. trailli (type), C. canadensis, C. curtus, C. gaugeri, C. gracilis, C. macrocephalus, C. sinualis.
Size: About 55 centimetres long, some variation between species.
Known locations: Belarus, Canada, Germany, Hungary, Kazakstan, Mexico, Poland, Russia, Scotland and the USA.
Time period: Mid Devonian through to the Bathonian of the Jurassic.
Fossil representation: Multiple specimens of varying levels of completeness.
There is no doubt that the Cheirolepis genus of fish were predators. The mouths of Cheirolepis could be opened particularly wide and were lined with numerous thin needle-like teeth for puncturing the bodies of other fish. The eyes of Cheirolepis were large and faced forwards indicating that Cheirolepis were visually orientated predators. The fins, particularly the pectorals that were on the underside of the body behind the head were well developed, further indicating a very active and fast swimming lifestyle. The wide geographic and temporal range of Cheirolepis indicates that as predators the genus were very successful.
- Recherches Sur Les Poissons Fossiles. Tome I (livr. 18) - Louis Agassiz - 1843.
- A new cheirolepidid fish from the Middle-Upper Devonian of Red Hill, Nevada, USA. In: Arratia, G., Wilson, M. V. H. and Cloutier, B., eds., - G. Arratia & R. Cloutier - 2004.
- A microanatomical and histological study of the postcranial dermal skeleton of the Devonian actinopterygian Cheirolepis canadensis. - Acta Palaeontologica Polonica. 61 (2): 363–376. - L. Zylberberg, F. J. Meunier & M. Laurin - 2016.