Cryptoclididae is a family of medium-sized plesiosaurs that existed from the middle Jurassic to the early Cretaceous period. They had long necks, broad and short skulls and densely packed teeth. They fed on small soft-bodied preys such as small fish and crustaceans.

Temporal range:
Middle Jurassic - Early Cretaceous, 166–130 Ma
Muraenosaurus l2.jpg
Life restoration of Muraenosaurus leedsi
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Reptilia
Superorder: Sauropterygia
Order: Plesiosauria
Clade: Cryptoclidia
Family: Cryptoclididae
Williston, 1925


In 2010, two supposed late Cretaceous members of the group were reclassified as other kinds of plesiosauroids. Kaiwhekea was reclassified to Leptocleididae, and Aristonectes was transferred to Elasmosauridae.[3]

Cladogram based on Ketchum and Benson (2010):[3]







  1. ^ Roberts AJ, Druckenmiller PS, Cordonnier B, Delsett LL, Hurum JH. 2020. A new plesiosaurian from the Jurassic–Cretaceous transitional interval of the Slottsmøya Member (Volgian), with insights into the cranial anatomy of cryptoclidids using computed tomography. PeerJ 8:e8652
  2. ^ Gasparini, Z.; Bardet, N. & Iturralde-Vinent, M. (2002). "A new cryptoclidid plesiosaur from the Oxfordian (Late Jurassic) of Cuba" (PDF). Geobios. 35 (2): 201–211. doi:10.1016/s0016-6995(02)00019-0.
  3. ^ a b Ketchum, H. F.; Benson, R. B. J. (2010). "Global interrelationships of Plesiosauria (Reptilia, Sauropterygia) and the pivotal role of taxon sampling in determining the outcome of phylogenetic analyses". Biological Reviews. 85: 361–392. doi:10.1111/j.1469-185X.2009.00107.x. PMID 20002391.

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