Temporal range: Early Cretaceous
Huanhepterus quingyangensis.jpg
Skeletal restoration showing preserved elements in white and impressions in grey
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Order: Pterosauria
Suborder: Pterodactyloidea
Family: Ctenochasmatidae
Subfamily: Gnathosaurinae
Genus: Huanhepterus
Dong, 1982
Type species
Huanhepterus quingyangensis
Dong, 1982

Huanhepterus is an extinct genus of ctenochasmatid pterodactyloid pterosaur from the Early Cretaceous of Qingyang, Gansu, China.


The genus was named by Dong Zhiming in 1982. The type species is Huanhepterus quingyangensis. The genus name refers to the Huang Jian (not the Yellow River or "Huang He", but a smaller tributary of the Jinghe River in Gansu), and combines it with a Latinized Greek pteron, "wing". The specific name refers to Qinyang County.

It is based on holotype IVPP V9070, a partial articulated skeleton consisting mostly of impressions of the left half of the body and the beak-end of the skull. The fossil was in May 1978 found in a quarry operated by the Sanshilipu-commune, when an explosion exposed a vertebra. Its force obliterated the right half of the specimen. IVPP V9070 hails from the Early Cretaceous-age Huachihuanhe Formation of the Zhidan Group.


Huanhepterus had a long, low skull, with a low crest running along the midline that was higher toward the tip of the snout and became smaller toward the eyes. The teeth, about 26 pairs in the upper and 25 in the lower jaws, were slender and numerous, and became shorter farther from the 11th pair, both to the front as to the back, where they become absent completely in posterior part of the snout. The cervical vertebrae were long, as were the toes, and there was no fused complex of the front dorsal vertebrae (notarium), as seen in other pterosaurs. The wingspan of the type individual was estimated at 2.5 m (8.2 ft). This genus was described as most like Gnathosaurus.[1] David Unwin later referred it the Gnathosaurinae, a subgroup of the Ctenochasmatidae.


Cladogram following Andres, Clark & Xu, 2014.[2]


Kepodactylus insperatus

Elanodactylus prolatus

Feilongus youngi

Moganopterus zhuiana

Huanhepterus quingyangensis

Plataleorhynchus streptophorodon

Gnathosaurus subulatus

Gnathosaurus macrurus



Pterodaustro guinazui

Eosipterus yangi

Beipiaopterus chenianus

Gegepterus changi

Cladogram following the latest version of Andres' data set, published by Longrich, Martill, and Andres in 2018:[3]


Cycnorhamphus suevicus

Normannognathus wellnhoferi












CtenochasmatinaePterodaustro BW.jpg


Like Gnathosaurus, it may have used its tightly-packed, slender teeth to filter food from water.[4]

See also


  1. ^ Dong, Z.-M. (1982). On a new Pterosauria (Huanhepterus quingyangensis sp.nov.) from Ordos, China. Vertebrata PalAsiatica 20(2):115-121.
  2. ^ Andres, B.; Clark, J.; Xu, X. (2014). "The Earliest Pterodactyloid and the Origin of the Group". Current Biology. 24: 1011–6. doi:10.1016/j.cub.2014.03.030. PMID 24768054.
  3. ^ Longrich, N.R.; Martill, D.M.; Andres, B. (2018). "Late Maastrichtian pterosaurs from North Africa and mass extinction of Pterosauria at the Cretaceous-Paleogene boundary". PLoS Biology. 16 (3): e2001663. doi:10.1371/journal.pbio.2001663. PMC 5849296. PMID 29534059.
  4. ^ Wellnhofer, Peter (1996) [1991]. The Illustrated Encyclopedia of Pterosaurs. New York: Barnes and Noble Books. pp. 104–105. ISBN 0-7607-0154-7.

External links

  • Huanhepterus in The Pterosauria