It had a graceful 6 meter long dolphin-shaped body, very different from the eel-like shapes of earlier Ichthyosaurs such as Cymbospondylus, and its almost toothless jaw was well adapted for catching squid.
Major fossil finds of this species have been recorded in Europe, North America and Argentina. Like all of its relatives, it gave birth to live young due to the fact it was so specialized to life in the open ocean.
Ophthalmosaurus was a sea reptile that had stream lined, fish like bodies, and these creatures can live in groups of hundreds.
Females came from deeper water to give birth. A single female probably had between two and five pups, but since they were air breathers, the young had to be born tail first, or otherwise they would drown in the time it took them to escape from the mother.
New-born pups only had a few seconds to reach the surface and take their first breath. From the moment they were born, the little pups were vulnerable. Even adult opthalmosaurs will eat the offspring of others to increase the chance of survival of their own pups. The only real safety was among the crags of coral.
Coral reefs in the Late Jurassic seas were full of baby opthalmosaurs. Those intricate network of caves was their refuge, a safe haven from which they can start to learn about their new world.
Unlike adults, the baby opthalmosaurs had prominent teeth.
This allowed them to cope with a variety of tough prey among the coral, but Ammonite shells were too tough for them.
Opthalmosaurus adults were masters of hunting at night. With their enormous light-sensitive eyes, they could pick out squid in the gloom. Their long toothless snouts are streamlined weapons, making it easy for them to snap up fast-moving prey.
- Recently, a study of several ichthyosaurs, the mosasaur Tylosaurus, and an extinct sea turtle, indicate they where mostly black in color. This doesn't mean that they were completely black, or that other non-detected colors weren't there. It also doesn't directly involve Opthalmosaurus.
A toy of Ophthalmosaurus was made by Toyway for their Walking with Dinosaurs line. Unlike the series, it had a greenish color in place of yellow.