Brachyceran Diptera (Insecta) in Cretaceous ambers, Part IV, Significant New Orthorrhaphous Taxa.
ABSTRACT: Thirteen species of basal Brachycera (11 described as new) are reported, belonging to nine families and three infraorders. They are preserved in amber from the Early Cretaceous (Neocomian) of Lebanon, Albian of northern Spain, upper Albian to lower Cenomanian of northern Myanmar, and Late Cretaceous of New Jersey USA (Turonian) and Alberta, Canada (Campanian). Taxa are as follows, with significance as noted: In Stratiomyomorpha: Stratiomyidae (Cretaceogaster pygmaeus Teskey [2 new specimens in Canadian amber], Lysistrata emerita Grimaldi & Arillo, gen. et sp. n. [stem-group species of the family in Spanish amber]), and Xylomyidae (Cretoxyla azari Grimaldi & Cumming, gen. et sp. n. [in Lebanese amber], and an undescribed species from Spain). In Tabanomorpha: Tabanidae (Cratotabanus newjerseyensis Grimaldi, sp. n., in New Jersey amber). In Muscomorpha: Acroceridae (Schlingeromyia minuta Grimaldi & Hauser, gen. et sp. n. and Burmacyrtus rusmithi Grimaldi & Hauser gen. etsp. n., in Burmese amber, the only definitive species of the family from the Cretaceous); Mythicomyiidae (Microburmyia analvena Grimaldi & Cumming gen. et sp. n. and Microburmyia veanalvena Grimaldi & Cumming, sp. n., stem-group species of the family, both in Burmese amber); Apsilocephalidae or near (therevoid family-group) (Kumaromyia burmitica Grimaldi & Hauser, gen. et sp. n. [in Burmese amber]); Apystomyiidae (Hilarimorphites burmanica Grimaldi & Cumming, sp. n. [in Burmese amber], whose closest relatives are from the Late Jurassic of Kazachstan, the Late Cretaceous of New Jersey, and Recent of California). Lastly, two species belonging to families incertae sedis, both in Burmese amber: Tethepomyiidae (Tethepomyia zigrasi Grimaldi & Arillo sp. n., the aculeate oviscapt of which indicates this family was probably parasitoidal and related to Eremochaetidae); and unplaced to family is Myanmyia asteiformia Grimaldi, gen. et sp. n., a minute fly with highly reduced venation. These new taxa significantly expand the Mesozoic fossil record of rare and phylogenetically significant taxa of lower Brachycera.
Project description:The fauna of termites (Isoptera) preserved in Early Eocene amber from the Cambay Basin (Gujarat, India) are described and figured. Three new genera and four new species are recognized, all of them Neoisoptera - Parastylotermes krishnai Engel & Grimaldi, sp. n. (Stylotermitidae); Prostylotermes kamboja Engel & Grimaldi, gen. et sp. n. (Stylotermitidae?); Zophotermes Engel, gen. n., with Zophotermes ashoki Engel & Singh, sp. n. (Rhinotermitidae: Prorhinotermitinae); and Nanotermes isaacae Engel & Grimaldi, gen. et sp. n. (Termitidae: Termitinae?). Together these species represent the earliest Tertiary records of the Neoisoptera and the oldest definitive record of Termitidae, a family that comprises >75% of the living species of Isoptera. Interestingly, the affinities of the Cambay amber termites are with largely Laurasian lineages, in this regard paralleling relationships seen between the fauna of bees and some flies. Diversity of Neoisoptera in Indian amber may reflect origin of the amber deposit in Dipterocarpaceae forests formed at or near the paleoequator.
Project description:An unusual and well-preserved fossil staphylinid is described and figured from a single specimen in Upper Cretaceous Burmese amber. Gollandiaplanata gen. et sp. n. is tentatively placed in the extant oxyteline tribe Coprophilini, although it lacks a few characteristic features of present-day members of the group, likely indicating it to be either a stem group of the tribe or prove to be distinct pending future discoveries. The discovery of this genus suggests that early oxytelines were more morphologically diverse during the Cretaceous and their evolutionary history was more complicated than previously documented. Tribal placement as regards fossil oxyteline taxa is discussed.
Project description:The recently reviewed subtribe Procirrina comprises eight extant genera with a predominately (sub)tropical distribution. Previous phylogenies consistently recover the tribe Pinophilini of the subfamily Paederinae monophyletic. No fossils of the tribe have been described, although compression fossils are known from the Cenozoic Green River Formation (50.3-46.2 Ma) as well as inclusions from the Miocene Dominican (20.43-13.65 Ma) and Mexican (20-15 Ma) ambers. Here we describe †Cretoprocirrus trichotos Jenkins Shaw and ?y?a gen. et sp. n., the oldest fossil representative of the tribe Pinophilini, from Upper Cretaceous Burmese amber (ca. 99 Ma). Phylogenetic analyses of morphological data allow its unambiguous placement in the subtribe Procirrina. †Cretoprocirrus trichotos is the second genus of Paederinae described from Burmese amber and provides an important insight into the evolution of the subfamily.
Project description:Jewel wasps (Hymenoptera: Chalcidoidea) are extremely species-rich today, but have a sparse fossil record from the Cretaceous, the period of their early diversification. Three genera and three species, Diversinitus attenboroughi gen. & sp. n., Burminata caputaeria gen. & sp. n. and Glabiala barbata gen. & sp. n. are described in the family Diversinitidae fam. n., from Lower Cretaceous Burmese amber. Placement in Chalcidoidea is supported by the presence of multiporous plate sensilla on the antennal flagellum and a laterally exposed prepectus. The new taxa can be excluded from all extant family level chalcidoid lineages by the presence of multiporous plate sensilla on the first flagellomere in both sexes and lack of any synapomorphies. Accordingly, a new family is proposed for the fossils and its probable phylogenetic position within Chalcidoidea is discussed. Morphological cladistic analyses of the new fossils within the Heraty et al. (2013) dataset did not resolve the phylogenetic placement of Diversinitidae, but indicated its monophyly. Phylogenetically relevant morphological characters of the new fossils are discussed with reference to Cretaceous and extant chalcidoid taxa. Along with mymarid fossils and a few species of uncertain phylogenetic placement, the newly described members of Diversinitidae are among the earliest known chalcidoids and advance our knowledge of their Cretaceous diversity.
Project description:A second species of protorhyssaline wasps (Braconidae) is described and figured from inclusions in Upper Cretaceous (Turonian) amber of the Raritan Formation in New Jersey, USA. Rhetinorhyssalites emersoni, gen. n., sp. n., is distinguished from other protorhyssalines, particularly the contemporaneous Protorhyssalus goldmani.
Project description:The family Scelembiidae (Neoembiodea: Embiomorpha: Archembioidea) is recorded from Asia for the first time, based on two individuals preserved in Early Eocene amber from the Cambay Basin, western India. Kumarembia hurleyi Engel & Grimaldi, gen. n. et sp. n., is described, figured, and distinguished from other archembioid genera. The genus shares male genitalic features with scelembiids, otherwise known from South America and Africa.
Project description:Insect pollination of flowering plants (angiosperms) is responsible for the majority of the world's flowering plant diversity and is key to the Cretaceous radiation of angiosperms. Although both insects and angiosperms were common by the mid-Cretaceous, direct fossil evidence of insect pollination is lacking. Direct evidence of Cretaceous insect pollination is associated with insect-gymnosperm pollination. Here, we report a specialized beetle-angiosperm pollination mode from mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber (99 mega-annum [Ma]) in which a tumbling flower beetle (Mordellidae), Angimordella burmitina gen. et sp. nov., has many tricolpate pollen grains attached. A. burmitina exhibits several specialized body structures for flower-visiting behavior including its body shape and pollen-feeding mouthparts revealed by X-ray microcomputed tomography (micro-CT). The tricolpate pollen in the amber belongs to the eudicots that comprise the majority of extant angiosperm species. These pollen grains exhibit zoophilous pollination attributes including their ornamentation, size, and clumping characteristics. Tricolpate pollen grains attached to the beetle's hairs are revealed by confocal laser scanning microscopy, which is a powerful tool for investigating pollen in amber. Our findings provide direct evidence of insect pollination of Cretaceous angiosperms, extending the range insect-angiosperm pollination association by at least 50 million years. Our results support the hypothesis that specialized insect pollination modes were present in eudicots 99 million years ago.
Project description:Palerasnitsynus ohlhoffigen. et sp. n. is described fromBurmese amber of late Albian (Lower Cretaceous) age. This is the first record of the family Psychomyiidae from Burmese amber, and the earliest fossil record of the family. The genus Palerasnitsynusgen. n. differs from all other known psychomyiid genera by the absence of fork III in the forewings.
Project description:Due to a lack of Mesozoic fossil records, the origins and early evolution of feather-feeding behaviors by insects are obscure. Here, we report ten nymph specimens of a new lineage of insect, Mesophthirus engeli gen et. sp. nov. within Mesophthiridae fam. nov. from the mid-Cretaceous (ca. 100 Mya) Myanmar (Burmese) amber. This new insect clade shows a series of ectoparasitic morphological characters such as tiny wingless body, head with strong chewing mouthparts, robust and short antennae having long setae, legs with only one single tarsal claw associated with two additional long setae, etc. Most significantly, these insects are preserved with partially damaged dinosaur feathers, the damage of which was probably made by these insects' integument-feeding behaviors. This finding demonstrates that feather-feeding behaviors of insects originated at least in mid-Cretaceous, accompanying the radiation of feathered dinosaurs including early birds.
Project description:We describe a new genus and species of Histeridae from Upper Cretaceous Burmese amber, Amplectister tenax Caterino & Maddison, gen. & sp. n. This species represents the third known Cretaceous histerid, which, like the others, is highly distinct and cannot easily be placed to subfamily. It exhibits prosternal characters in common with Saprininae, but other characters appear inconsistent with this possibility. The abdominal venter is strongly concave, and the hind legs are enlarged and modified for grasping. We hypothesize that this represents the earliest example in Histeridae of modifications for phoresy on social insects.