Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Placodermi
Order Antiarchi
Suborder Bothriolepidoidei
Family Bothriolepididae
Genus Bothriolepis
1st Species Bothriolepis ornata
2nd Species Bothriolepis favosa
3rd Species Bothriolepis hydrophila
4th Species Bothriolepis cellulosa
Other attributes
Time Range 387-360 mya
Location Worldwide
Name Meaning Trench scale
Physical Dimensions 43.7 centimeters for B.canadensis; 1.3 meters long for B.maxima; 1.7 meters long for B.rex
Dietary Classification Detritivore

Bothriolepis is a bothriolepidid antiarch placoderm fish from the Middle-Late Devonian of the entire world. It was named in 1840 by Karl Eichwald. It was one of the most successful placoderms, as it was easily adaptable, and could live in any aquatic environment.


Bothriolepis was a unique placoderm. It was a fish with an armored head, small, toothless jaws, small eyes on the top of its head, an armored body, blade-like pectoral fins, and a long, upwards-facing tail. Its body would have been covered in scaly skin, with bony plates protecting its head, and body.


Bothriolepis was a detritivore, sucking up pieces of organic debris suspended in the water. Its small jaws were used to get a hold of any detritus on the silt and mud.


Bothriolepis had a spiral-shaped gut, which allowed it to digest its food for a longer period of time, leading to more extraction of nutrients. As well as this, it had long, blade-like fins, which were used for lifting itself off the bottom of its aquatic environment, as well as stirring up sediment. It is known to have been easily adaptable, as fossils of this placoderm were found in both saltwater and freshwater environments. In fact, some may say that it was anadromous, migrating into freshwater in order to lay eggs.

In popular cultureEdit

Bothriolepis was featured in the 1st episode of the 2003 documentary Chased by Sea Monsters, where Nigel Marven, the explorer of the prehistoric seas, wraps a dead individual in chainmail and uses it as bait for the large predatory fish, Dunkleosteus.

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