Giant invertebrates – Meganeura and Arthropleura

(meg-a-new-ra and are-thro-ploo-ra)

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Model of Arthropleura.
Image: Benjamin Healley
Source: Museum Victoria

Model of Meganeura.
Image: Benjamin Healley
Source: Museum Victoria

Carboniferous

HOW BIG IT WAS

Giant invertebrates relative size depiction as described below
Arthropleura was about 100cm long. Meganeura had a wingspan of 75 cm.

The Carboniferous was a time of giant land invertebrates, and Arthropleura, a gigantic relative of millipedes and centipedes, was the largest of them all. In spite of its fearsome appearance, it was probably a plant-eater but may have occasionally eaten small vertebrates and insects.

Flying above, the massive dragonfly Meganeura hunted insects and other small animals on the wing. The moist, oxygen-rich atmosphere of the Carboniferous made respiration easier for insects, allowing them to grow very large, and Meganeura was one of the largest flying insects.

WHERE IT WAS FOUND

Giant Invertebrates map

Arthropleura was discovered in Scotland. Meganeura was discovered in the USA.

RELATED OBJECTS

Other objects from the Carboniferous

PederpesGoniatitesPentremitesStethacanthus

Related Resources

Photograph of a yellow plastic Tyranasaurus Rex