Lepidotes (previously known as Lepidotus) is an extinct genus of semionotid neopterygian ray-finned fish from the Jurassic period (Toarcian age) and Early Cretaceous. Fossils have been found in marine sediments of France, England, and Germany, and in Early Cretaceous sediments of Brazil and Bornholm, Denmark. It lived from the Rhaetian of the Triassic until the Cenomanian of the Cretaceous.


Inhabiting both freshwater lakes and shallow seas, Lepidotes was typically about 30 centimetres (12 in) long. The body was covered with thick, enamelled scales. Batteries of peg-like teeth enabled Lepidotes to crush the shells of its molluscan prey.

Lepidotes was one of the earliest fish in which the upper jawbones were no longer attached to the jugal bone. This allowed the jaws to be stretched into a 'tube' so that the fish could suck in prey from a greater distance than in previous species. This system is still seen in some modern fish, such as carp.

Lepidotes scales are ovular in shape, and are 18.5 millimetres (0.73 in) long and 3 millimetres (0.12 in) thick at the thickest point. The scales are smooth and shiny on the external surface, with only a few small depressions scattered toward the centre that are shaped like punctures.

The Land Before Time

In The Land Before Time III: The Time of the Great Giving, a pair of Lepidotes are seen swimming before being scared off by an Ichthyostega.
Unknown Fish
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