• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

The dietary habits and trophic positions of the Longipterygidae (1 Viewer)

Fred Ruhe

Well-known member
Alexander D. Clark, Han Hu, Roger B. J. Benson and Jingmai K. O’Connor, 2023
Reconstructing the dietary habits and trophic positions of the Longipterygidae (Aves: Enantiornithes) using neontological and comparative morphological methods

PeerJ. 11. e15139.

Abstract and free pdf:
The Longipterygidae are a unique clade among the enantiornithines in that they exhibit elongate rostra (≥60% total skull length) with dentition restricted to the distal tip of the rostrum, and pedal morphologies suited for an arboreal lifestyle (as in other enantiornithines). This suite of features has made interpretations of this group’s diet and ecology difficult to determine due to the lack of analogous taxa that exhibit similar morphologies together. Many extant bird groups exhibit rostral elongation, which is associated with several disparate ecologies and diets (e.g., aerial insectivory, piscivory, terrestrial carnivory). Thus, the presence of rostral elongation in the Longipterygidae only somewhat refines trophic predictions of this clade. Anatomical morphologies do not function singularly but as part of a whole and thus, any dietary or ecological hypothesis regarding this clade must also consider other features such as their unique dentition. The only extant group of dentulous volant tetrapods are the chiropterans, in which tooth morphology and enamel thickness vary depending upon food preference. Drawing inferences from both avian bill proportions and variations in the dental morphology of extinct and extant taxa, we provide quantitative data to support the hypothesis that the Longipterygidae were animalivorous, with greater support for insectivory.


Last edited:
Taxonomic notes

The authors ot the paper write the following: "Known only from the Lower Cretaceous Jehol Group in northeastern China, the Longipterygidae is a relatively diverse clade consisting of at least five taxa divided into two subclades: the larger-bodied Longipteryginae consisting of Longipteryx chaoyangensis
(Zhang et al., 2001) and Boluochia zhengi (O’Connor, Zhou & Xu, 2011; Zhou, 1995); and the smaller-bodied Longirostravinae, consisting of Longirostravis hani (Hou et al., 2004), Rapaxavis pani (Morschhauser et al., 2009), and Shanweiniao cooperorum (O’Connor et al., 2009). The Longipteryginae have large, labiolingually compressed teeth (i.e., blade-like) with crenulated apicodistal margins (Wang et al., 2015) and unusually thick enamel (Li et al., 2020) whereas the Longirostravinae have more gracile, peg-like teeth (enamel thickness currently unknown) (O’Connor, 2019). The large, crenulated, labiolingually compressed teeth of the Longipteryginae (Fig. 1) and the smaller peglike teeth of the Longirostravinae (Fig. 2) likely reflect differences in diet and subsequently in their ecology.
Several predictions regarding the diet and behavior of both groups have been put forth."

The fact that they recognize two subclades is new to me. So now we have the followinf arangment:

Family Longipterygidae Zhang, Zhou, Hou et Gu, 2000.
Subfamily Longipteryginae Zhang, Zhou, Hou et Gu, 2000.
Included genera: Longipteryx Zhang, Zhou, Hou et Gu, 2000 and Boluochia Zhou, 1995,.

Subfamily Longirostravinae ?
Included genera: Longirostravis Hou L. H., Chiappe, Zhang et Chuong, 2004, Rapaxavis Morschhauser, Varricchio, Gao, Liu, Wang, Cheng et Meng, 2009 and Shanweiniao O’Connor, Wang, Chiappe, Gao, Meng, Cheng et Liu, 2009

My question is who described the subclade Longirostravinae. It is not described in this paper as it doesn't say Subfam. Nov., so it must be described earlier, but I never came across the name.

If this paper is the paper that describes the subclade the description must be in the Supplemental Information, but unfortunately, I cannot downlaod that part. So can somebody download it for me? Thanks in advance!


Lianhai Hou, Luis M. Chiappe, Fucheng Zhang & Cheng-Ming Chuong, 2004
New Early Cretaceous Fossil from China Documents a Novel Trophic Specialization for Mesozoic Birds
Naturwissenschaften 91: 22-25

Eric M. Morschhauser, David J. Varricchio, Gao Chunling, Liu Jinyuan, Wang Xuri, Cheng Xiadong & Meng Qingjin, 2009
Anatomy of the Early Cretaceous Bird Rapaxavis pani, a New Species from Liaoning Province, China
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 29: 545-554

Jingmai K. O'Connor, Xuri Wang, Luis M. Chiappe, Chunling Gao, Qingjin Meng, Xiaodong Cheng & Jinyuan Liu, 2009
hylogenetic Support for a Specialized Clade of Cretaceous Enantiornithine Birds with Information from a New Species
Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology 29(1):188-204

Fucheng Zhang, Zhou Zhonghe, Hou Lianhan & Gu Gang, 2000 (2001) (Chinese, Engels)
Early Diversification of Birds: Evidence from a New Opposite Bird
Chinese Science Bulletin 45 (24): 2650-2657 (chinees), 46 (11) 945-949(-951) pdf

Zhou Zhonghe, 1995
Discovery of a New Enantiornithine Bird from the Early Cretaceous of Liaoning, China
Vertebrata PalAsiatica 33(2): 99-113


Users who are viewing this thread