You don’t see sea scorpions the size of cats or dogs every day, that’s for sure. But such a creature has been dwelling in the seas of what is now China many millions of years ago, and we can consider ourselves privileged to learn about it. The sea scorpion in question measured one meter long, and LiveScience.org is the publication bringing information about it.
If you truly want to sound scientific and impress your friends with your knowledge, you can call the sea scorpion in question Terropterus xiushanensis, as that is its moniker. The creature was also a eurypterid, meaning that it was closely related to some arachnids and horseshoe crabs.
A true predator
The scorpion was a pretty good predator for its time. The creature was equipped with barbed limbs, and according to study co-author Bo Wang and his colleagues, the extensions “were presumably used for prey-capture, and analogies can be drawn with the ‘catching basket’ formed by the spiny pedipalps of whip spiders … among the arachnids.”
The sea scorpion represents the first discovered species in 80 years that belong to the Mixopteriade family.
Another official statement from the new study says, as quoted by LiveScience.org:
Our knowledge of these bizarre animals is limited to only four species in two genera described 80 years ago: Mixopterus kiaeri from Norway, Mixopterus multispinosus from New York, Mixopterus simonsoni from Estonia and Lanarkopterus dolichoschelus from Scotland.
As Wikipedia informs us, Arachnida represents a class of joint-legged invertebrate animals, and creatures such as spiders, ticks, mites, solifuges, and harvestmen are also included. There are three types of arachnids: Scorpiones, Acari, and Opiliones.
The new findings were published in Science Bulletin.