|“||Pterygotus is the titan of sea scorpions.||„|
|— Allen, about Pterygotus|
Pterygotus (name meaning "Winged One") is a genus of large eurypterid that originated during the Late Silurian Era in what is now North America and Europe. A giant sea scorpion measuring over 3 meters in length, it was a distant ancestor of the modern-day crab and was also among the largest arthropods ever to live.
Era & DiscoveryEdit
Pterygotus lived in the oceans during the Silurian and Early Devonian period from 420–400 million years ago. It was one of the top predators of its time. Pterygotus was an apex predator, rivaled only by the larger predators, such as the orthocone Cameroceras.
Pterygotus was first discovered by Louis Agassiz in 1849. Pterygotus remains are mostly found in Europe, but it has also been found in North America.
Known as "the titan of Sea Scorpions", Pterygotus was a large Eurypterid, in fact, it was arguably the largest arthropod of all time, that possessed long pincers. Growing to measure more than 10 feet (3 m) in length, they were the size of modern-day crocodiles.
Like its smaller relative, Megalograptus, Pterygotus did not possess a true stinger, rather its tail bearing little more than a superficial resemblance to its namesake. Instead, Pterygotus had a flat tail designed to propel it through the water and they used it as a paddle for swimming in the water; more usually, however, Pterygotus crawled along the sea bottom or was just lying in ambush - it was too heavy to swim too far for too long. However, it was capable of relatively fast bursts of speed. It also two, large, black compound eyes.
Unlike some eurypterids like Megalograptus, Pterygotus arms and legs were stalk-like and were able to keep the animal supported underwater. Its pincers were more like modern scorpions rather than more basal eurypterids.
Behavior & TraitsEdit
Powerful predators that hunted solitarily, Pterygotus is depicted as an ambush hunter, hiding and lying in wait underneath the sea-bed for unsuspecting prey to arrive by during itself on the ocean floor and they would then erupt from it and attack its prey. It would then tear apart its victim and would then force the meat into its mouth with its mandibles.
Female Pterygotus provided parental care to their young. If she caught a prize, she would share between herself and her offspring. Judging by this, it is apparent that after mating, the male Pterygotuswould leave his mate and his developing offspring. Pterygotus tail was designed as a whale-esque fluke. This specialized design would have made it a relatively powerful swimmer. It moved its tail in an up-and-down motion.