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Pterygotus is the titan of sea scorpions. The biggest arthropod of all time.
— 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 that measured more than 3 meters in length, it was a distant ancestor of the modern-day crab and was also among the largest arthropods ever to live.

In the Series 1 episode "Arthropods Round II", a number of three Pterygotus and their young were brought to the park from the Late Silurian of 417 million years ago. They reside in the Primeval Aquarium exhibit.

Facts

Era & Discovery

Pterygotus lived in the oceans during the Silurian and Early Devonian period from 420 – 400 million years ago. 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.

Physical Attributes

Often referred to as "the titan of Sea Scorpions", Pterygotus was a large Eurypterid that possessed long pincers. In fact, it was not only the largest sea scorpion but was also arguably the largest arthropod of all time. Growing to measure more than 12 feet (3.7 m) in length, Pterygotus was 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 MegalograptusPterygotus 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 & Traits

Powerful predators that hunted solitarily, Pterygotus was 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 any kind of prey, she would share between herself and her offspring. Judging by this, it is apparent that after mating, the male Pterygotus would leave their mate and developing offspring. The tail of Pterygotus 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.

Gallery

Trivia

  • Pterygotus was one of the largest arthropods to be brought to the park.
    • Pterygotus was the second and second largest sea scorpion to be brought to the park.
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