Clidastes is an extinct genus of mosasaur lizard from marine environments of the Late Cretaceous. Clidastes was the smallest of the mosasaurs, averaging 2-4 meters (7-12 feet) in length, with the largest specimens reaching 6.2 meters (20 feet) long.

Clidastes was an agile and fast swimmer that cruised the surface or shallow waters hunting for fish, flying reptiles and anything that got too close. It possessed a delicate and slim form with an expansion of the neural spines and chevrons near the tip of the tail and this enabled it to chase down the fastest of prey.


  • Cope, E.D. 1868. On new species of extinct reptiles. Proceedings of the Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia 20: 181.
  • Cope, E.D. 1869.On the reptilian orders, Pythonomorpha and Streptosauria. Proceedings of the Boston Society of Natural History 12: 250–266.
  • ICZN, 1993. Opinion 1750. Clidastes Cope, 1868 (Reptilia, Sauria): C. propython Cope, 1869 designated as the type species. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 50: 297.
  • Merriam, J.C. 1894. Ueber die Pythonomorphen der Kansas−Kreide. Palaeontographica 41: 1–39.
  • Kiernan, C.R. 1992.Clidastes Cope, 1868 (Reptilia, Sauria): proposed designation of Clidastes propython Cope, 1869 as the type species. Bulletin of Zoological Nomenclature 49: 137–139.

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