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Author: David Grimaldi

Abstract

Two new species of a new genus, Postopsyllidium rebeccae and P. emilyae, are described, which are preserved in amber from northern Myanmar and central New Jersey, USA (100-90 myo), respectively. These are the first specimens of the hemipteran family Protopsyllidiidae found in amber and the latest occurrence of the family, some 50 my later than previous records; all others are compressions in rocks (many of them just wings) from the Late Permian to the Early Cretaceous. Postopsyllidium emilyae is also the first record of the group from the Western Hemisphere. A catalogue of Protopsyllidiidae is provided as well as an hypothesis of phylogenetic relationships among genera, though monophyly of the family is ambiguous. Postopsyllidium appears to be a recently derived genus, and four genera are removed from the family. Complete preservation in amber allows new insight into relationships, specifically that Postopsyllidium, and perhaps most or all Protopsyllidiidae, represent an extinct sister group to the Sternorrhyncha that retain features of some Auchenorrhyncha. Radiations of true Sternorrhyncha began in the Jurassic and Cretaceous, by which time the Protopsyllidiidae were apparently already relicts.

In: Insect Systematics & Evolution
Author: David Grimaldi

Abstract

The fly species crassipes de Meijere is transferred from the Sphaeroceridae to the Drosophilidae since Platyborborus de Meijere, a monotypic genus, is a junior synonym of Colocasiomyia de Meijere. Colocasiomyia crassipes is a very highly modified member of the genus due to its flattened body, reduction and loss of many groundplan setae, deep antennal fossae, and crassate hind legs. The holotype and only known specimen, from Java, is redescribed in detail and illustrated. New records of Colocasiomyia stamenicola (Carson & Okada) and C. gigantea (Okada) are reported from Guadalcanal, Solomon Islands, considerably outside their reported ranges. Colocasiomyia nepalensis sp. n. is described from Kathmandu, Nepal. Cladistic relationships in the genus are briefly examined and related to biogeography and aroid host use.

In: Insect Systematics & Evolution
Author: David Grimaldi

Abstract

The unique biology of a drosophilid whose larvae are predators of the Central American glass frog, Centrolenella fleischmanni (Boettger), was presented in detail by Villa. Here, the correct assignment of the species is made to the genus Hirtodrosophila Duda (previously identified as a species of Zygothrica Wiedemann), the species is described, and fine morphological features of the larvae are described. The species is described from specimens from Nicaragua, although there are other unconfirmed records from throughout Central America. Relationships of H. batracida, n.sp. with several other species in the genus are briefly discussed. Hirtodrosophila are only known to be mycophagous; the only conceivable host shift was from fungi to frog's eggs.

In: Insect Systematics & Evolution

Abstract

Species of the extinct, parasitoid wasp family Serphitidae (Proctotrupomorpha: Bipetiolarida: Serphitoidea), occurring in Cretaceous (Turonian) amber from New Jersey, are reviewed. Two species, both new, are described and figured as Serphites raritanensis Engel & Grimaldi sp.n. and S. navesinkae Engel & Grimaldi sp.n.

In: Insect Systematics & Evolution

Abstract

The first definitive strepsipteran is reported from the Cretaceous, named Cretostylops engeli, n.gen., n.sp., which is an adult male in amber from the mid-Cretaceous (approximately Cenomanian) of northern Myanmar (Burma). A triungulin from the Late Cretaceous (Campanian, c. 80 myo) of Manitoba, Canada is possibly a strepsipteran. The triungulin is described in detail but its morphology does not conform to any known clade of Recent strepsipterans. Other Cretaceous triungula reported here are in Burmese amber and are probably of the family Rhipiphoridae (Coleoptera), and bizarre (possibly coleopteran) triungula in mid-Cretaceous (Turonian, c. 90 myo) amber from New Jersey, USA. Phylogenetic analysis confirms the primitive position of Cretostylops among families of Strepsiptera, but it is not as primitive as Protoxenos in Eocene Baltic amber. Protoxenos and Cretostylops are still too highly modified to address the controversial relationships of Strepsiptera among insect orders, but the generalized structure of the mandible is inconsistent with the hypothesis that this order is the sister group to Diptera or closely related to Mecopterida. Phylogeny of living and Recent Strepsiptera suggests an origin of the order in the Early Cretaceous or Late Jurassic, which is also inconsistent with this order being a sister group to the much older Diptera.

In: Insect Systematics & Evolution

Abstract

Semiaquatic bugs (Hemiptera: Gerromorpha) comprise about 1,800 extant species classified in eight families. So far, 38 fossil species belonging to six families have been described or recorded, most of Cenozoic age. Knowledge about the evolutionary history of the major groups of Gerromorpha is seriously hampered by the scarcity of well-preserved Mesozoic fossils, especially from the Cretaceous. The present paper reports on a well-preserved semiaquatic bug from amber collected in the northern part of Myanmar (Burma). The source of this fossiliferous amber was previously considered to be Eocene in age, but recent evidence indicates that it originated in the Middle Cretaceous (Turonian-Cenomanian), or 100-90 Ma. The fossil species is described as Carinametra burmensis gen. et sp. n. The presence of three pairs of cephalic trichobothria, a prolonged head, long slender antennae and legs, reduced wing venation, etc., places the fossil in the gerromorphan family Hydrometridae or water measurers. Other characters suggest a close relationship with the two extant genera of the most basal of the hydrometrid subfamilies, Heterocleptinae. We present and discuss the available evidence used in the dating of Burmese amber. Finally, we discuss the phylogenetic, paleobiological, and biogeographic significance of the new fossil.

In: Insect Systematics & Evolution

Abstract

Kathirithamby, J. & Grimaldi, D.: Remarkable stasis in some Lower Tertiary parasitoids: descriptions, new records, and review of Strepsiptera in the Oligo-Miocene amber of the Dominican Republic. Ent. scand. 24: 31-41. Copenhagen, Denmark. April 1993. ISSN 0013-8711. 25-30 million years of parasite stasis is recorded in amber from the Dominican Republic, by the finding of a species of strepsipteran morphologically indistinguishable from Bohartilla melagognatha Kinzelbach, 1969 (Bohartillidae), and two species very close to Caenocholax fenyesi (Pierce 1909) (Myrmecolacidae). A new record is made of a species previously described from Dominican amber, Myrmecolax glaesi Kinzelbach, 1983. The history of the Tertiary strepsipteran fauna is discussed. Minimal ages of taxa are extrapolated based on these amber and other fossils, higher-level cladistic relationships, and fossil dating of major host groups. These new findings are consistent with Kinzelbach's hypotheses of an ancient, Lower Cretaceous/Jurassic origin of the Strepsiptera.

In: Insect Systematics & Evolution

Abstract

The Mesozoic family Pseudopolycentropodidae presently consists of seven described species from the mid-Triassic to the Late Jurassic of Europe and Asia. Pseudopolycentropus prolatipennis Whalley, from the Early Jurassic of England, is revised based on re-examination of the type. Four new species are described herein that add significant distributional and stratigraphic extensions to the family. Pseudopolycentropodes virginicus Grimaldi and Fraser, gen. n., sp. n. from the Late Triassic (Carnian) of Virginia USA is the first species of the family from the Western Hemisphere. Pseudopolycentropus daohugouensis Zhang, sp. n. from the Late Jurassic of China is very similar to P. latipennis Martynov, 1927 from the Late Jurassic of Kazakhstan. Four specimens belonging to two very similar species in mid-Cretaceous amber from northern Burma (Myanmar), Parapolycentropus burmiticus Grimaldi and Rasnitsyn, gen. n., sp. n. and P. paraburmiticus Grimaldi and Rasnistyn, sp. n., are the only specimens of the family from the Cretaceous. The amber species are exceptional, with the hind wing reduced to a minute lobe, the antennal flagellum modified into an arista, labial palps are lost, and – like the Late Jurassic species — the laciniae and what are probably mandibles are modified into a long, stylet-like proboscis. What the species with long proboscides fed upon is ambiguous, but it was doubtfully blood. Complete preservation in amber of morphological details, particularly the female terminalia, confirms previous views that this unusual group is phylogenetically basal to Recent Mecoptera.

In: Insect Systematics & Evolution