Isotelus Information

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Temporal range: Middle Ordovician–Late Ordovician
Isotelus brachycephalus.JPG
Isotelus brachycephalus
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Trilobita
Order: Asaphida
Family: Asaphidae
Genus: Isotelus
Dekay, 1824

See text

Isotelus is a genus of asaphid trilobites from the middle and upper Ordovician period, fairly common in the Northeastern United States, northwest Manitoba, southwestern Quebec and southeastern Ontario. One species, Isotelus rex, is currently the world's largest trilobite ever found as a complete fossil.

Discovery and naming

Cast of Isotelus rex

A specimen of Isotelus rex, from Churchill, Manitoba, is the largest complete trilobite ever found. Discovered by Dave Rudkin (Royal Ontario Museum), Robert Elias (University of Manitoba), Graham Young (Manitoba Museum) and Edward Dobrzanske (Manitoba Museum) in 1999, it measures 720 millimetres (28 in) in length, 400 millimetres (16 in) in maximum width (across the cephalon) and 70 millimetres (3 in) in maximum height (at the posterior midpoint of the cephalon). [1] [2] [3]

A number of species have been described:

  • I. aktchokensis Weber, 1948
  • I. bradleyi Amati, 2014
  • I. copenhagenensis Ross, Jr. & Shaw 1972
  • I. frognoensis Owen, 1981
  • I. gigas Dekay, 1824
  • I. harrisi Raymond, 1905 (synonym I. platymarginatus Raymond, 1910)
  • I. iowensis Owen, 1852
  • I. kimmswickensis Bradley, 1930
  • I. maximus Locke, 1838
  • I. megistos Locke, 1842
  • I. parvirugosus Chatterton & Ludvigsen, 1976
  • I. skapaneidos Amati, 2014
  • I. susae Whitfield, 1882
  • I. violaensis Amati, 2014
  • I. walcotti Walcott, 1918 (synonym I. planus De Mott, 1963)

Many specimens have also been found in Ohio, where Isotelus maximus is the state fossil. [4]


  • Very similar to Homotelus
  • "Double" posterior
  • Head and tail shields are semi-circular and very similar in shape (isopygus)
  • Thorax has 8 segments and a slightly raised middle lobe between the outer pleurae


  1. ^ Rudkin, D.A.; Young, G.A.; Elias, R.J.; Dobrzanske, E.P. (2003). "The World's biggest Trilobite: Isotelus rex new species from the Upper Ordovician of northern Manitoba, Canada". Palaeontology. 70 (1): 99–112. doi: 10.1666/0022-3360(2003)077<0099:TWBTIR>2.0.CO;2. ISSN  0022-3360.
  2. ^ S. M. Gon III (2005-08-17). "The World's Largest Trilobites".
  3. ^ P. Z. Myers (2005-04-25). "Isotelus rex, biggest trilobite ever". Archived from the original on 2007-11-12.
  4. ^ "Ohio's State Fossil - Isotelus".