Groenlandaspis small
An artist's illustration of Groenlandaspis
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Placodermi
Order: Arthrodira
Family: Groenlandaspidae
Genus: Groenlandaspis

Groenlandaspis is a genus of fish from Devonian. Officially Nine species are assigned to it.


Groenlandaspis had a joint in the back of its head with its thoracic armor, allowing for its head to be thrown back, increasing its gape. However, as its head is somewhat compressed in comparison with many other arthrodires, and as the dorsal side came to a low, pyramid-like peak, it is believed that Groenlandaspis could not crane its head back very far. It was a relatively small fish, only 7.5 centimetres in length on average, though one unusually large species, G. riniensis, reached almost a metre in length.

Groenlandaspis is a member of the Arthrodira, a group of Devonian armoured fishes. In the past Groenlandaspis has been found only in eastern Greenland but now Alexander Ritchie has recognised at least six species from sites in Greenland, Europe, Australia and Antarctica. His account demonstrates that these arthrodires enjoyed a very wide geographical distribution during the Upper Devonian and that the family can be traced back into the Middle and Lower Devonian.

It lived in coastal and fluvial waters, where it is thought to have fed on either very small prey, or detritus; the small dental plates in its mouth strongly suggest that it was incapable of tackling large prey. The possibility that the plates may have been used to, at times, feed on bivalves has also been muted.


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