Facts about Sea Scorpions, an extinct prehistoric animal

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Dinosaur Jungle   >   Other Prehistoric Animals   >   Sea Scorpions

Sea Scorpions



Scientific Classification
  Kingdom Animalia
  Superphylum Ecdysozoa
  (unranked) Panarthropoda
  Phylum Arthropoda
  Subphylum Chelicerata
  Class Eurypterida
Sea Scorpions ("Eurypterids") are a group of extinct arthropods that may possibly predate the earliest fishes. These animals are not true scorpions (which are part of the class Arachnida), but are believed to be related to the Arachnids and Xiphosura (horseshoe crabs) - indeed, historically, they have often been classified together with horseshoe crabs as "Merostomata".

The earliest fossils of Sea Scorpions date from the Ordovician period, about 460 million years ago, although an earlier trace fossil ("Protichnites"), dated to the Cambrian period, about 510 million years ago, is evidence of a land living predatory arthropod, which may well be an early Eurypterid.

Sea Scorpions were predators. They evolved in warm shallow seas, but in later periods they tended to live in freshwater or brackish water, rather than the sea. The fossils of Sea Scorpions are found throughout the world, and it is thought possible that some species may have been amphibious - coming on to land for part of their lifecycle, and probably capable of breathing in both water and air.

In life, Sea Scorpions had a semicircular carapace, a jointed section containing twelve body segments, and a long tail which often tapered and ended with a spine. The spine on the tail, was in some cases spiked, but it is unclear whether it could have been venomous. Sea Scorpions had a pair of compound eyes, and a paid of smaller eyes ("ocelli") between them. Attached to the carapace were paddles, and these could have been used for swimming, and possibly digging. Sea Scorpions also had two large claws at the front ("chelicerae"), and four pairs of jointed legs - fossil trackways suggest that some species may have used six-legged (hexapodous) and others eight-legged (octopodous) gaits.

Most species of Sea Scorpions were quite small, less than 8 inches (20 centimeters) in length. However there were also some larger types - the genus Jaekelopterus, seems to have included animals up to about 8 feet (2.5 meters) in length.

Since 1984, Eurypterus remipes, a species of Sea Scorpion has been the State of Fossil of New York.

Sea Scorpions Timeline:



Sea Scorpions were arthropods that lived in the seas between 510 and 248 million years ago

Sea Scorpions were arthropods that lived in the seas between 510 and 248 million years ago


Related Information & Resources


See Also

Eurypterid Books


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A New Ordovician Eurypterid
By Ellis William Shuler

Released: 2013-06-10
Kindle Edition (7 pages)

A New Ordovician Eurypterid
 
Product Description:
"[...]barren of fossils.


Stylonurus (Ctenopterus)? alveolatus sp. n.

The Eurypterid fragments consist of parts of four post-oral limbs; a part of the telson spine with the impression of two abdominal segments, and a fragmentary carapace.
The best preserved fragment is that belonging to the second or third endognathite, fig. 4. It consists of three segments, all of which, after making allowance for mashing due to the conditions of preservation, show a distinct dorsi-ventral flattening. The articulation of the joints is such as to permit flexing movements downward and backward, an arrangement which suggests an adaptation of the limb to swimming. The individual segments are distinctly elongated, being on the average twice as long as wide. The lengths of the successive segments beginning with the proximal one are: 16mm, 16mm, and 20mm. The corresponding widths are: 10mm, 8mm, and 6mm.
The posterior margin of the proximal joint is supplied with two prominent spines or flattened bristles, the larger of which occupies the distal corner. This is the largest spine preserved. It has a length of 41mm. The width, 2mm, is fairly uniform along its whole length. In common with the other spines it originates in a projecting alveolar process or ring-like swelling of the integument at the base, which from its unusual development, is a significant characteristic of this species. The smaller
Figs. 1-6.

[...]".
Eurypterids of the Devonian Holland Quarry Shale of Ohio. Volume 14, April 26, 1961, No. 5
By Erik N. Kjellesvig-Waering

Leopold Classic Library
Released: 2017-01-23
Paperback (30 pages)

Eurypterids of the Devonian Holland Quarry Shale of Ohio. Volume 14, April 26, 1961, No. 5
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Leopold is delighted to publish this classic book as part of our extensive Classic Library collection. Many of the books in our collection have been out of print for decades, and therefore have not been accessible to the general public. The aim of our publishing program is to facilitate rapid access to this vast reservoir of literature, and our view is that this is a significant literary work, which deserves to be brought back into print after many decades. The contents of the vast majority of titles in the Classic Library have been scanned from the original works. To ensure a high quality product, each title has been meticulously hand curated by our staff. This means that we have checked every single page in every title, making it highly unlikely that any material imperfections – such as poor picture quality, blurred or missing text - remain. When our staff observed such imperfections in the original work, these have either been repaired, or the title has been excluded from the Leopold Classic Library catalogue. As part of our on-going commitment to delivering value to the reader, within the book we have also provided you with a link to a website, where you may download a digital version of this work for free. Our philosophy has been guided by a desire to provide the reader with a book that is as close as possible to ownership of the original work. We hope that you will enjoy this wonderful classic work, and that for you it becomes an enriching experience. If you would like to learn more about the Leopold Classic Library collection please visit our website at www.leopoldclassiclibrary.com
Eurypterids of the Devonian Holland Quarry shale of Ohio
By Erik N Kjellesvig-Waering

Nabu Press
Paperback (24 pages)

Eurypterids of the Devonian Holland Quarry shale of Ohio
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This is a reproduction of a book published before 1923. This book may have occasional imperfections such as missing or blurred pages, poor pictures, errant marks, etc. that were either part of the original artifact, or were introduced by the scanning process. We believe this work is culturally important, and despite the imperfections, have elected to bring it back into print as part of our continuing commitment to the preservation of printed works worldwide. We appreciate your understanding of the imperfections in the preservation process, and hope you enjoy this valuable book.
EURYPTERIDS ILLUSTRATED The Search for Prehistoric Sea Scorpions
By Samuel J. Ciurca

self-published
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EURYPTERIDS ILLUSTRATED The Search for Prehistoric Sea Scorpions
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  • Contains over 50 illustrations with notes - should be of interest to fossil collectors and researchers.
Product Description:
A glimpse at part of a fossil collector's discoveries in his search for 400 million year old sea scorpions (mostly aquatic eurypterids) from New York and Ontario, Canada with added notes.
Eurypterids of the Devonian Holland Quarry Shale of Ohio: Fieldiana, Geology, Vol.14, No.5
By Erik N Kjellesvig-Waering

Sagwan Press
Paperback (24 pages)

Eurypterids of the Devonian Holland Quarry Shale of Ohio: Fieldiana, Geology, Vol.14, No.5
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Eurypterids of the Devonian Holland Quarry Shale of Ohio... Volume Fieldiana, Geology, Vol.14, No.5
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Fossils of Ontario, Part 3: The Eurypterids and Phyllocarids (LIFE SCIENCES MISCELLANEOUS PUBLICATION)
By M. J. Copeland

Royal Ontario Museum
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Fossils of Ontario, Part 3: The Eurypterids and Phyllocarids (LIFE SCIENCES MISCELLANEOUS PUBLICATION)
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An Eurypterid Horizon in the Niagara Formation of Ontario (Classic Reprint)
By Merton Yarwood Williams

Forgotten Books
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An Eurypterid Horizon in the Niagara Formation of Ontario (Classic Reprint)
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Excerpt from An Eurypterid Horizon in the Niagara Formation of Ontario

This fauna is in the main typically Lockport, but the pres ence of the two species of Pycnostylus, which are among the most typical of Guelph Species, indicates that in this old reef tran sitional conditions existed. The reef explains the origin of one mound which formerly existed in the Bramosa beds.

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The Eurypterid-bearing Deposits of the Pentland Hills. A rare original article from the British Association for the Advancement of Science report, 1894.
By and others Dr. R.H. Traquair

Report of the British Association for the Advancement of Science, 64th. Meeting, Oxford, 1894.
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The Eurypterid-bearing Deposits of the Pentland Hills. A rare original article from the British Association for the Advancement of Science report, 1894.
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New York State Museum Bulletin No. 272 August 1926 The Utica And Lorraine Formations Of New York Part 2 Systematic Paleontology No. 2 Mollusks, Crustaceans And Eurypterids [this Part Only]
By Rudolf Ruedemann

University of the State of New York
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