Description and classificationEdit
The type species, S. dongi, is based on IVPP V13363, an articulated, nearly complete skeleton. The skull of this individual was 17 centimeters (6.7 inches) long, and the wingspan was estimated to be 1.2 meters (3.9 feet). The authors suggested that it was an omnivore, and noted that it was the first record of a tapejarid outside of Brazil, and the earliest and most complete tapejarid.
A second species, S. gui, was named by Li, Lü, and Zhang in 2003 based on BPV-077, another nearly complete skeleton from the Jiufotang Formation. It was said to differ from S. dongi mainly in its smaller size (only about half the size of S. dongi) and the presence of a notarium, though this was later disproved. Most later studies have found S. gui to simply represent a younger specimen of S. dongi.
A third species was referred to Sinopterus in 2007, S. jii. This species was first named by Lü & Yuan in 2005 as the type species of a new genus, which they named Huaxiapterus. However, two later studies in 2007 and 2011 both showed that H. jii was in fact more closely related to sinopterus than to two other species also assigned to Huaxiapterus, "H." corollatus and "H." benxiensis. Both groups of researchers concluded that Huaxiapterus jii should therefore be reclassified as Sinopterus jii, and that the other two species of "Huaxiapterus" require a new genus name.