A mermithid nematode, Cretacimermis aphidophilus sp. n. (Nematoda: Mermithidae), parasitising an aphid (Hemiptera: Burmitaphididae) in Myanmar amber: a 100 million year association

In: Nematology
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  • 1 Department of Integrative Biology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331, USA

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A new species of fossil mermithid, Cretacimermis aphidophilus sp. n. (Nematoda: Mermithidae), is described from the primitive extinct aphid, Caulinus burmitis (Hemiptera: Burmitaphididae), in mid-Cretaceous Myanmar amber. Aphid parasitism by mermithid nematodes is rare today with only two known cases involving root-feeding aphids. Based on the habits of the parasitised extant aphid hosts, it is likely that the fossil aphid was also a root parasite and encountered the infective stage mermithid in the soil. Such fossils provide rare glimpses of nematode-host associations from the distant past and provide minimum dates for the appearance of specific mermithid clades.

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