Temporal Range: Middle Triassic (240-235 Mya)
Length: 0.6 metres
– Discovery: The first Lariosaurus specimen was discovered in 1830, recovered from the glacial Lake Como in Italy. It was named by Italian paleontologist G. Curioni in 1847 and was placed within the nothosauroid order. A number of fossils have been discovered throughout western Europe and in China.
– Description: Lariosaurus was one of the smallest of the known nothosaurs, growing to lengths of just 60 centimetres. It was also one of the most primitive looking, with relatively small flippers and possessing a significantly short neck in comparison to its relatives. It is believed that the rear legs were five-toed with claws, and likely to be webbed. The front legs would have been more paddle-like but the lack of length in both sets of limbs would have hindered Lariosaurus‘ swimming ability. With front limbs more suited to swimming and hind limbs more suited to a life on land, it would appear that Lariosaurus was a marine reptile in transition towards a more aquatic life.
In one specimen, the remains of two juvenile Cyamodus were discovered, suggesting that Lariosaurus would have hunted young placodonts. The fangs, at the front of a broad head, would have interlocked upon closing, forming a viscous trap that would have also been effective at catching fish.
It appears that this species of nothosaur was viviparous (able to bear live young) as several specimens have been found with embryos, indicating that they carried their young to maturity within their bodies. This knowledge has made Lariosaurus one of the more important nothosaur discoveries, although it is still unknown whether all nothosaurs would have given birth this way or whether some would have laid eggs.
(Restoration Source: http://masahatto2.p2.bindsite.jp/pg181.html)