Jaw of cf. Xericeps cuvirostris
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Sauropsida
Order: Pterosauria
Suborder: Pterodactyloidea
Family: Azhdarchidae
Genus: Xericeps
Martill, et al., 2018
Binomial name
Xericeps cuvirostris
(Martill, 2018)

Xericeps (meaning "dry catcher") is a genus of pterosaur from the Late Cretaceous Kem Kem Beds of southeastern Morocco.


Xericeps joschua-knuppe

Credit: Joschua Knuppe

Xericeps is a medium-sized edentulous (toothless) pterosaur, likely closely related to Alanqa. The term 'medium-sized', in the context of pterosaurs, is generally used to describe pterosaurs with a wingspan of 3-8 metres, and it is likely that Xericeps was nearer the lower end of this range.

The name Xericeps comes from the Ancient Greek - xero - meaning dry, referencing the Sahara Desert, in which the pterosaur was first found, and the Latin suffix ~ ceps from caput, meaning "head" - alluding to the creature's forceps-like beak. The holotype specimen has an upcurved lower jaw, with the occluding surface curved in lateral view.

Discovery and naming[]

The holotype specimen - FSAC-KK-10700 was discovered by local mine workers at Aferdou N'Chaft, a small mesa near the oasis village of Hassi el Begaa in the El Rachidia Province in south eastern Morocco on the Algerian border, and consists only of the pterosaur's fragmented jaws. The specimen was purchased directly at the mine site by British palaeontologist David M. Martill in January 2017, and thus it is possible to confidently establish its precise locality and stratigraphic horizon.

It is believed that Xericeps lived in the mid-Cretaceous period around the Albian-Cenomanian ages. The holotype specimen's species epithet - "curvirostris" - comes from the Latin curvus, meaning "curved" and rostrum meaning snout, or muzzle. This is due to the specimen's noticeably upward-curved beak.