Lycoptera were small, freshwater fish that lived from the late Jurassic to Cretaceous periods (125-135 million years ago), in present-day China, Korea, Mongolia, and Siberia.
This species is a member of the Jehol Biota, a prehistoric ecosystem known for its early birds and feathered dinosaurs.
Lycoptera had numerous tiny teeth, feeding on plankton or small insects. Our fossil specimens show preserved impressions of soft tissues. Lycoptera was covered in tiny oval scales about 1.2 millimeters across, and when living would have had a superficial resemblance to a minnow.