The microstructure of aptychi (bivalved calcareous coverings on lower jaws) of three genera of Late Cretaceous Ancyloceratina, Baculites, Polyptychoceras and Jeletzkytes is described for the first time on the basis of well-preserved and in situ material from the Western Interior of the USA and Hokkaido, Japan. Optical and scanning electron microscope observations of aptychi on polished median and cross-sections reveal some variation in their relative size, shape and microstructure among the three genera. The aptychus of Baculites is composed of two calcitic layers: one with tilted lamellae and the other one with horizontal lamellae, whereas those of Polyptychoceras and Jeletzkytes consist of a thin layer with horizontal lamellae. Comparison with aptychi (e.g. Laevaptychus) of Jurassic Ammonitina shows that the aptychi of Ancyloceratina differ from those of Jurassic Ammonitina in the smaller number of layers and the absence of a sponge-like structure. We propose for the first time growth models for a sponge-like aptychus of Jurassic Ammonitina and the lamellar aptychus of Cretaceous Ancyloceratina. The remarkable microstructural variation of aptychi observed in Mesozoic Ammonoidea is probably related to the diversity of their modes of feeding and the secondary function of the lower jaws as opercula.