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In: Terrestrial Arthropod Reviews

Abstract

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.

In: Insect Systematics & Evolution

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.

In: Terrestrial Arthropod Reviews

Abstract

Apicrenus fossilis, a new neotropical apiomerine fossil genus, is described and compared with annectant genera. This new genus is distinguished from other consubfamilials by the following combination of characters: anteriorly located eyes, with their margins flushing with the lateral margins of the head, anterior acetabula not visible from above, absence of collar, and presence of two triangular discal corial cells in the fore wing.

In: Insect Systematics & Evolution

Aggregations of conspecifics are ubiquitous in the biological world. In arthropods, such aggregations are generated and regulated through complex interactions of chemical and mechanical as well as abiotic and biotic factors. Aggregations are often functionally associated with facilitation of defense, thermomodulation, feeding, and reproduction, amongst others. Although the iconic aggregations of locusts, fireflies, and monarch butterflies come to mind, many other groups of arthropods also aggregate. Cycloalexy is a form of circular or quasicircular aggregation found in many animals. In terrestrial arthropods, cycloalexy appears to be a form of defensive aggregation although we cannot rule out other functions, particularly thermomodulation. In insects, cycloalexic-associated behaviors may include coordinated movements, such as the adoption of seemingly threatening postures, regurgitation of presumably toxic compounds, as well as biting movements. These behaviors appear to be associated with attempts to repel objects perceived to be threatening, such as potential predators or parasitoids. Cycloalexy has been reported in some adult Hymenoptera as well as immature insects. Nymphs of the orders Hemiptera (including Homoptera) as well as larvae of the orders Neuroptera, Coleoptera, Diptera, Hymenoptera, and, in a less circular fashion, the Lepidoptera, cycloalex. There are remarkable convergences in body form, life habit, and tendencies to defend themselves in the social larval Coleoptera, particularly chrysomelids, social larval Lepidoptera, and social larval Hymenoptera. In immature insects, the cycloalexing organisms can be arranged with either heads or abdominal apices juxtaposed peripherally and other conspecifics may fill in the center of the array. In the Chrysomelidae, the systematic focus of this review, species in the genera Lema, Lilioceris (Criocerinae), Agrosteomela, Chrysophtharta, Eugonycha, Gonioctena, Labidomera, Paropsis, Paropsisterna, Phratora, Phyllocharis, Plagiodera, Platyphora, Proseicela, Pterodunga (Chrysomelinae), Coelomera (Galerucinae), and Acromis, Aspidomorpha, Chelymorpha, Conchyloctenia, Ogdoecosta, Omaspides and Stolas (Cassidinae) are reported to cycloalex although cycloalexy in other taxa remains to be discovered. Other types of aggregations in insects include stigmergy, or the induction of additional labor, and epialexy, or the positioning of conspecifics organisms over the midvein or an elongated aspect of a leaf.

In: Terrestrial Arthropod Reviews