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Aerodactyl is a pterosaurian, bipedal Pokémon with several draconic features. It has large, membranous wings, as well as small, sharply pointed ears, narrow eyes, a ridged snout, a gaping mouth, and a strong lower jaw full of serrated fangs. Its body is covered in light blue-grey skin with violet wing membranes. Aerodactyl's wings consist of a membrane running from the side of the body to the tip of an elongated finger. The clawed hands at the end of each wing allow it to grasp objects. There is a hump-like ridge with a spike on its back, and it has a strong tail with an arrow-shaped tip. Its talon-like feet have two toes in front and one in the back and are capable of scooping up and tightly clutching its prey in flight.
Aerodactyl's serrated fangs and ferocious attitude were nevertheless very imposing, and it is said to be have been capable of effortlessly ripping out enemies' throats. These fangs can also tear through any skin of a Pokémon to pieces, especially Steel-type Pokémon. By spreading its wings, Aerodactyl is believed to have flown by gliding through the skies, freely letting out its high-pitched cries. It liked to nest in the mountains, where it enjoyed both safety and seclusion.
As Mega Aerodactyl, its eyes turn green and the body begins to turn to stone, which some researchers believe was its original appearance before fossilization. It grows larger in size and sprouts jagged black spikes all over its body: five spikes at the wrist joint of each wing replacing its hands, three small spikes along its tail, one spike on each ear, and a long spike on its chin. The spike on its back and its rear talons have also become black and stony. Rocky plates cover its eyebrows and the corners of its jaw. Similar stone ornaments are present on its chest on its torso: two small ridges flanking a longer ridge. Because of the burden of Mega Evolution, Mega Aerodactyl is fiercer and more irritable than before. As a result, Mega Aerodactyl attacks anything that moves.
In Pokémon Heroes: Latios & Latias, an Aerodactyl was resurrected from a fossil alongside a giant Kabutops by Annie and Oakley. In the English dub, it was described as having been used by an evil Trainer to torment the civilians of Alto Mare but was drowned when a Latios brought water to the city. It was ordered to chase after Ash and Latias. It had blank, yellow-tinted eyes with no pupils and a thick black outline.
In Holy Moltres, an Aerodactyl appears as a silhouette in Blaine's fantasy of what the Old Amber would turn into when it would be revived. Later, Red obtains an Aerodactyl from a resurrected piece of Old Amber which he revives in Holy Moltres and names him Aero. He has since then used him extensively for aerial transportation and combat.
Lance has his own Aerodactyl that he also uses for aerial transportation and combat which first appeared in Extricated from Exeggutor. He also owns multiple other Aerodactyl which were used in his Dragon-type army that were used to attack the mainlands of Kanto. They first appeared in Playing Horsea.
Aerodactyl's design is mostly based on rhamphorhynchids, a family of toothed pterosaurs. However, its pointed wings, spaded tail, and robust jaws also give it the resemblance of a dragon, specifically wyverns.