Liopleurodon was a species of plesiosaur marine reptile. An extremely large animal, at six meters (though incorrectly stated to be around twenty-five meters in Walking With Dinosaurs), Liopleurodon was one of the biggest predator in the history of life on Earth.
Physical appearance and biologyEdit
Massive predatory animals, Liopleurodon had the basic body plan of a pliosaur, but scaled up. It had a massive head and a short neck, with a mouth full of banana-sized tusk-like teeth, and four massive and powerful flippers.
Colour-wise, Liopleurodon were mostly black, with a dappled white pattern of stripes and spots on the back. The underbelly was entirely white.
Liopleurodon could grow up to at least twenty-five meters long and weigh one hundred and fifty tonnes, and the juveniles looked identical to the older adults.
Behaviour and traitsEdit
Liopleurodon was generally an ambush predator, which would often lie in wait for sharks to pass by. It was capable of waiting under water, whilst holding its breath, for at least an hour. With hugely powerful jaws, no animal would escape the attack if caught by the Liopleurodon.
Although usually highly territorial, Liopleurodon - at least the juveniles - would occassionally gang up to take down larger prey such as Leedsichthys. Injured Leedsichthys were easier targets than the healthy adults, though even they were defenceless.
Liopleurodon had a nose that was capable of picking up scents without inhaling any water. This formidable adaptation allowed it to pick up long-distance scents of blood, and follow them to the injured animal - just like their prey, sharks, can do.
Capable of surviving to over a hundred years old, Liopleurodon were long-lived reptiles - and they grew constantly throughout their life, much like crocodiles.
Unlike most other marine reptiles, Liopleurodon would have given birth in the water. Its massive bulk meant that, if it beached itself, it would suffocate under its own immense weight. Presumably, the young were born backwards to prevent drowning.
In the deep, the Ophthalmosaurus are beginning to give birth live young, a slow process. One individual is approached from behind by an old male Liopleurodon. Her pups reach the surface for breath, and flee into the coral.
Another female is struggling to give birth near the surface - her splashing attracts some Hybodus sharks. After twenty minutes, she is still struggling, and the sharks are coming closer. The male Liopleurodon shows up, scaring the sharks away in the process, and bites the icthyosaur in half, her back half falling to the ocean floor as food for the sharks. The Liopleurodon is stated to be over one hundred years old.
The Cryptoclidus later beach themselves at night, in order to sleep in safety, away from the Liopleurodon in the waters.
The old Liopleurodon goes up for a gulp of air, and waits in the depth for a shark ambush, where he can hold his breath for an hour. However, a female Liopleurodon arrives, and the two territorial reptiles fight violently. The male, flipping the camera, tears the female's flipper. As she bleeds, she is followed by groups of Hybodus.
During a violent tropical storm, the old Liopleurodon has strands himself on one of the island beaches. A pack of Eustreptospondylus show up - as he is still a danger whilst alive, they wait for him to suffocate before devouring him.
Using sonar, Nigel Marven discovers that a huge Liopleurodon is heading toward an injured and dying Leedsichthys. The camera spots it circling the Leedsichthys which is already dead, though the Liopleurodon is eventually spooked away by the camera.
Nigel equips his and the cameraman's diving suit with a chemical system that will spray a cloud of deterrent at the huge pliosaur should they get too close. The crew use huge waterproof lights when they descend to the corpse of the Leedsichthys, because it is night.
A pair of Liopleurodon are feasting on the carcass, and Nigel starts to move closer toward them. When one turns its head towards him, Nigel panics and ejects the chemical, which works on the huge predator.
Liopleurodon appears in the fourth level of the Sea Monsters game. The player must correctly make a chemical repellent in order to scare away a pod of the animals from a submarine.
Behind the scenesEdit
List of appearancesEdit
- Walking with Dinosaurs Pilot
- Walking with Dinosaurs
- Walking with Dinosaurs: A Natural History
- Sea Monsters
- Sea Monsters game
- Sea Monsters book
- The Complete Guide to Prehistoric Life