Animal Database

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Animal Database
Animal Database
Scientific Classification
Kingdom Animalia
Phylum Chordata
Class Placodermi
Order Petalichthyida
Family Macropetalichthyidae
Genus Lunaspis
Conservation Status

Lunaspis is an extinct genus of petalichthyid fish that lived in shallow marine environment of the Early Devonian period. Fossils have been found in Germany, China and Australia.


Lunaspis were flattened fish with short trunk and long, curved cornual plates. These long, spine-like plates give the suggestion of a crescent moon, hence the generic name. The nostrils and the anterior part of the headshield around the orbits, is covered by a number of tiny scales, as is the long trunk.


Walter R. Gross and Ferdinand Broili, two German paleontologists, collaborated to discover and characterize the first specimens of L. broilii. In 1929, Broili found L. heroldi in Germany. Broili discovered another fossil specimen resembling Lunaspis heroldi at Bundenbach, Germany, in 1937. He initially classified the species as L. heroldi, but recognized a morphological divergence from the previously discovered species. Another palaeontologist named Gross was working with another specimen of Lunaspis, which he initially thought was Lunaspis prumiensis. Gross was working with parts of the cranium exoskeletal bones of an unknown Lunaspis species.

L. broilii specimens were previously exclusively identified in Emsian-aged Hunsruck Slate from Bundenbach, Germany, but in 1980, Liu Shifan discovered specimens that are most certainly identifiable as L. broilii. L. broilii specimens were recently discovered in Reefton, New Zealand, and have been determined to be closely related, if not identical, to those discovered in New South Wales, Australia. They were discovered to exhibit the same concentrically tuberculated ridges that are characteristic of Lunaspis. L. heroldi specimens can also be discovered in marine strata in China and Australia that are similar in age.


There are three known species in the genus Lunaspis:

  • Lunaspis broili
  • Lunaspis heroldi
  • Lunaspis pruemiensis