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Kidadl Team

AUGUST 06, 2021

Xenacanthus: 15 Facts You Won’t Believe!

Xenacanthus facts about the genus of a prehistoric shark that are relatives to the sharks of present times.

Xenacanthus Decheni is a type of shark that is only existent in contemporary times as fossils and remains on the floors of rivers, seas, and oceans. This species of shark is a prehistoric species that was known to exist in the later Devonian period or time to the end of the Triassic period and is known to be the first observed species of freshwater sharks. This freshwater species of shark resembled an eel due to the way it swam, and it wasn’t even as large as we know other species of sharks, even in the modern-day, to be. Xenacanthus is a genus of prehistoric sharks. The first species of the genus lived in the later Devonian period, and they survived until the end of the Triassic, 202 million years ago. Fossils of various species have been found worldwide including fossilized teeth and spines.

Once inhabiting the freshwaters over 360 million years ago, today, all scientists have been able to uncover about these fishes is extremely less in terms of quantifiable and ascertainable knowledge. Here are some interesting facts about this prehistoric shark species. Afterward, do read our other articles on Caribbean reef shark facts and sandbar shark facts.

Xenacanthus Interesting Facts

What type of animal is Xenacanthus?

The Xenacanthus is a type of shark that belongs to a group of prehistoric fish species that was present on the Earth around 202 million years ago. This species is mainly known because of fossilized teeth and spines. The Xenacanthus could be an ancestor of the Stingray as there is a spine projected from the back of the head which eventually gave the name to the genus. The spike is believed to have been venomous, in quite a similar manner to a stingray. This is extremely plausible as the rays are close relatives to the sharks.

What class of animal does a Xenacanthus belong to?

The Xenacanthus Decheni is classified as a fish and belongs to the biological family of Xenacanthidae.  Xenacanthus is a genus of prehistoric sharks. The first species of the genus lived in the later Devonian period, and they survived until the end of the Triassic, 202 million years ago. Fossils of various species have been found worldwide.

How many Xenacanthus are there in the world?

None. The Xenacanthus Decheni is a species of shark that belonged to the late Devonian period and existed until the end of the Triassic historical period.

Where does a Xenacanthus live?

The Xenacanthus lived in freshwater bodies. Xenacanthus were seen in deep oceans and were quite massive.

What is a Xenacanthus' habitat?

The Xenacanthus Decheni was one of the first species of freshwater sharks in the world and all research suggests that this prehistoric species of shark primarily lived in freshwaters found in India, Europe, and the United States of America.

Who do a Xenacanthus live with?

Not enough information has been uncovered by way of research that can concretely establish whether the Xenacanthus lived in schools of its own type or whether it was a solitary predator in its habitat.

How long does a Xenacanthus live?

The Xenacanthus, being a prehistoric species of shark, only exists today in the form of fossils. Therefore, no research has been able to establish the average or expected life span of the Xenacanthus to date.

How do they reproduce?

Since the Xenacanthus are now only existent in contemporary times as fossils and remains on the floors of rivers, seas, and oceans, no details are available about the reproduction techniques of these extinct organisms.

What is their conservation status?

The Xenacanthus was a prehistoric species of shark that existed in the late Devonian time period and until the end of the Triassic time period. Today this species is extinct.

Xenacanthus Fun Facts

What do Xenacanthus look like?

The first species of the genus lived in the later Devonian period.
*Please note that this is an image of a common sawfish, not Xenacanthusas it is now extinct.

Xenacanthus’ most distinctive feature was its head which was known to have a projection of a spine that may have, possibly, been a venomous appendage, similar to what stingrays have on their tails. The Xenacanthus also resembled the contemporary conger eels due to the way it swam and the fact that it had a dorsal fin all along its spine which was attached to its anal fin. The Xenacanthus’ teeth also were shaped in the form of a V.

How cute are they?

The Xenacanthus, being a shark, was not really cute.

How do they communicate?

Xenacanthus did not communicate like other sharks as these fishes only hunted for their prey and were rarely seen in a group.

How big is a Xenacanthus?

Growing to about 3.3 ft (100.5 cm) long on average and growing no longer than 6.6 ft (201.1 cm), the Xenacanthus was never a huge shark, even by today’s standards.

How fast can a Xenacanthus swim?

There isn’t enough research or data to be able to conclusively establish the speed at which the Xenacanthus could swim. However, its spine-long dorsal fin, which attaches to its anal fin, has time and again made scientists believe that the Xenacanthus swam like the modern day conger eel.

How much does a Xenacanthus weigh?

There are no specific details about the weight of these extinct species of sharks. However, a Xenacanthus was expected to weigh around 5-10 lb (2.26-4.53 kg).

What are the male and female names of the species?

No specific names have been assigned to the male and female sexes of this species of shark.

What would you call a baby Xenacanthus?

No specific name has been allocated to the babies of a Xenacanthus shark. A baby Xenacanthus can simply be referred to as a juvenile.

What do they eat?

The Xenacanthus was known to be a carnivore, primarily feeding on crustacean marine organisms and some smaller species of fish. The Xenacanthus was also probably a predator that would use the natural hunting technique of ambush to catch its prey.

Are they aggressive?

Since the Xenacanthus has never been observed or researched as a live animal, there is no real way to establish whether or not this species of shark was aggressive or not. However, considering that the Xenacanthus was a predator that hunted by the technique of ambush, it would be the best bet to say that it was, in fact, reasonably aggressive.

Would they make a good pet?

No, the Xenacanthus would not make for a good pet since these fishes were carnivores that were nearly a meter long. All those issues aside, however, the shark is extinct, ergo impossible to have as a pet today.

Did you know...

The Xenacanthus could be an ancestor of the Stingray as there is a spine projected from the back of the head which eventually gave the name to the genus. The spike is believed to have been venomous, in quite a similar manner to a stingray.

Xenacanthus is a genus of prehistoric sharks. The first species of the genus lived in the later Devonian period, and they survived until the end of the Triassic, 202 million years ago. Fossils of various species have been found worldwide including fossilized teeth and spines.

Where was the first Xenacanthus fossil found?

Xenacanthus fossils have been found all throughout the world. However, where the first fossil of this species was found cannot be accurately ascertained due to a lack of data.

How did the Xenacanthus go extinct?

The Xenacanthus existed in the late Devonian time period until the end of the Triassic time period. The reason for its extinction is attributed to the extensive developments that the earth’s ecosystems went through at that point in time.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly animal facts for everyone to discover! Learn more about some other fish including great white shark facts, or saw shark facts.

You can even occupy yourself at home by coloring in one of our Xenacanthus coloring pages.

*Please note that this is an image of a stingray, not a Xenacanthus as it is now extinct.

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