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Temporal range: Middle Jurassic
Leedsichthys problematicus.jpg
Leedsichthys with scuba-diver for scale
Scientific classification
Binomial name
Leedsichthys problematicus

Leedsichthys problematicus ("leeds fish") was a giant fossil fish of the Jurassic period. It was a pachycormid, a group of extinct ray-finned fishes (Actinopterygii). Leedsichthys is the largest fish known, with an estimated length of up to 16 meters.[1] The blue whale is twice as long, at 30 metres, but that is a mammal, not a fish.

Leedsichthys fossils are incomplete, making it impossible to know the exact length. The fossil is named after its discoverer, Alfred Nicholson Leeds, who discovered it before 1886 near Peterborough, England.[1] No full fossil is known, mainly because parts of the skeleton were made of cartilage, which does not fossilise. The front of the snout was made of cartilage.

Food[change | change source]

Like the world's biggest fish today, the whale shark, Leedsichthys was a filter feeder, getting its nutrition from plankton. Remains of over 70 individuals have been found.[1]

References[change | change source]

  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Liston J.J. 2004. An overview of the pachycormiform Leedsichthys. In: Arratia G and Tintori A (eds) Mesozoic Fishes 3 - Systematics, Paleoenvironments and Biodiversity. Pfeil, München. 379-390