Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Superclass Tetrapoda
Class Reptilia
Subclass Diapsida
Order Pterosauria
Family Rhamphorhynchidae
Subfamily Scaphognathinae
Genus Harpactognathus
1st Species Harpactognathus gentryii
Other attributes
Time Range 155-154 mya
Location United States of America
Name Meaning Seizing jaw
Physical Dimensions 2.5 meter wingspan
Dietary Classification Omnivore

Harpactognathus is a rhamphorhynchid pterosaurian reptile from the Late Jurassic of the United States of America. It was named in 2003 by Kenneth Carpenter, David A. Unwin, Karen Cloward, Clifford Miles, and Clark Miles. It was the biggest confirmed primitive long-tailed pterosaur to have ever existed; however, it was not the biggest pterosaur of all, as many Cretaceous pterodactyloids like Tupandactylus, Pteranodon, Tropeognathus, and Quetzalcoatlus would prove to be bigger.


Harpactognathus somewhat resembled its semi-close cousin, Scaphognathus. It was a primitive pterosaur with 4 legs (two of which served as wings), 4 fingers on each hand (one of which was elongated and supported the wing membrane), a small body, a long tail with a diamond-shaped vane on its end, a mid-sized head with a blunt, toothy beak, and a crest atop its head. Most of its body (excluding its beak, crest, and wings) would have been covered in a fur-like covering called pycnofibers.


Harpactognathus was an omnivore, feeding mainly on insects, lizards, mammals, and small dinosaurs, but also feeding on ferns, horsetails, and leaves. Its teeth were large and pointy, and were used to get a hold of struggling prey, but were also good at processing plant matter.


So far, all we know about Harpactognathus is that it was good at both pouncing on small prey and grinding up plant matter, and it had a large crest atop its head, used for display; whether the crest was used for attracting mates or for recognition by other members of its species is unknown.

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