A new genus and species, Paleodoris lattini gen. n., sp. n. of palm bugs (Hemiptera: Thaumastocoridae, Xylastodorinae) in Dominican amber represents the first description of a fossil thaumastocorid. The new taxon is near Xylastodoris, an extant genus native to Cuba, but differs from it in the size and shape of the clypeus, mandibular plates and pronotum. The fossil shows a similar morphology (flattened body and legs, porrect head, smooth body surface) to X. luteolus, which inhabits the confined spaces between the closed leaves of the Royal Palm (Roystonea regia). By comparative functional morphology, we presume that the fossil species lived in a similar habitat, possibly between the pinnae of palms that grew in the Dominican Republic some 20-40 million years ago.
Despite communication challenges, deaf and hard-of-hearing individuals made many new discoveries during the emergence of entomology as a scientific discipline. In the 18th century, Switzerland’s naturalist Charles Bonnet, a preformationist, investigated parthenogenesis, a discovery that laid the groundwork for many scientists to examine conception, embryonic development, and the true, non-preformationist nature of heredity. In the 19th century, insect collectors, such as Arthur Doncaster and James Platt-Barrett in England, as well as Johann Jacob Bremi-Wolf in Switzerland, developed specialized knowledge in several insect orders, particularly the Lepidoptera. In contrast, the contributions to entomology of Fielding Bradford Meek and Leo Lesquereux in the United States stemmed from their paleontological studies, while the work of Simon S. Rathvon and Henry William Ravenel in economic entomology and botany, respectively, was derived from their strong interests in plants. These and other contributors found ways to overcome the isolation imposed upon them by deafness and, as a group, deaf and hard-of-hearing scientists established a legacy in entomology that has not been previously explored.