Cheirolepis trailli Agassiz

Drawing of specimen from Moray Firth area (after Agassiz 1844).

Reconstruction of fish in A: lateral and B: ventral view (after Pearson & Westoll, 1979 ©).

This medium size fish can reach a length of 30 cm and is well known from the Sandwick Fish Bed but, since it is often not well-preserved people don’t bother to collect it. However, it is a very important fish in the evolution of living fish. It has very tiny scales in the size range of acanthodians. The scales are covered with ganoine (see general page on this site on actinopterygians).

It is also found above the Sandwick Fish Bed as isolated scales and dermal plates of the head. It was a top predator like Gyroptychius agassizi and probably acanthodians, lungfish and small osteolepids were its prey. Both the lower and upper jaws have rows of small but sharp teeth.

Complete fish from Achanarras, Caithness.

Complete fish from the Sandwick Fish Bed.

Reconstruction in lateral view (after Traquair, 1895).

Drawing of a fish (after Miller, 1841).

Drawing of a fish by C. Pander, 1860.

Close-up of head of the above specimen from the Sandwick Fishbed.

Head in lateral view (after Pearson & Westoll, 1979 ©).

Head in A: dorsal and B: ventral view. and reconstructions of head ready in the attack position (after Pearson & Westoll, 1979 ©).

Specimen from the Sandwick Fishbed.

Close-up of the above specimen showing the tail.