Dipterus valenciennesi Sedgwick & Murchison


The lungfish Dipterus was one of the first fish described in many papers beginning at the start of the 19th century. It has peculiar tooth plates and a strange lower jaw. Together with this and the fact that there are similar species alive today, this makes it a very interesting fish. On Orkney it can be found articulated in the Sandwick Fish Bed and disarticulated almost everywhere. In the Eday Subgroup Dipterus is “replaced” by Pentlandia macroptera.

Complete specimen together with specimen of Mesacanthus from Achanarras, Caithness.

Complete specimen in lateral view showing well the paired fins, Achanarras, Caithness

Complete fish, Caithness

Complete fish, Sandwick Fish Bed

Tail of fish from Achanarras

Head of fish from Achanarras

Head of fish from Achanarras

Cranial shield, external view

Medium sized cranial shield, external view

Medium sized, almost complete cranial shield, internal view, tooth plates visible.

Close up of tooth plates

Lower jaw, internal view, tooth plates visible.

Some scattered scales with cosmine patch

Scale close up

Scale close up

Reconstruction of fish (after Foster-Cooper,1937)

Reconstruction after Sedgwick & Murchison, 1828)

Drawing of specimen (after Miller, 1841)

Drawing of specimen (after Miller, 1841)

Drawing of cranial shield, external view (after Miller, 1849).

Drawing of lower jaw sideview (after Miller, 1849)

Reconstruction (after Pander, 1860)

Drawing of specimen (after Huxley, 1861)

Reconstruction (after Traquair, 1895).

Drawing of cranial shield (after Traquair 1878).

Drawing of lower jaw in external and internal view (Traquiar, 1878).

Recontruction of fish and cranial shield and lower jaw (Dean, 1895).

Reconstruction of lower jaw (after Watson, 1922).