Fossils sometimes show unusual morphological features absent in living organisms, making it difficult to reconstruct both their affinity and their function. We describe here a newlacewing larva, Ankyloleon caudatus gen. et sp.n. (Neuroptera) from the Cretaceous amber of Myanmar, characterized by an abdomen unique among insects, with ‘tail-like’ terminal segments bearing a ventral pair of vesicles. Phase-contrast X-ray microtomography reveals that these structures were dense and equipped with a median duct, suggesting that they were likely pygopods used for locomotion, holding the position through adhesive secretions. Our phylogenetic analyses, combining genomic and morphological data from both living and fossil lacewings, proved critical to placing Ankyloleon gen.n. on the lacewing tree of life as an early representative of the antlion clade, Myrmeleontiformia. These results corroborate the view that derived myrmeleontiform lacewings ‘experimented’ with unusual combinations of features and specializations during their evolutionary history, some of which are now lost.

Badano, D., Fratini, M.M.L., Palermo, F., Pieroni, N., Haug, J.T., Weiterschan, T., et al. (2021). X-ray microtomography and phylogenomics provide insights into the morphology and evolution of an enigmatic Mesozoic insect larva. SYSTEMATIC ENTOMOLOGY, 46, 672-684 [10.1111/syen.12482].

X-ray microtomography and phylogenomics provide insights into the morphology and evolution of an enigmatic Mesozoic insect larva

Di Giulio A.;
2021

Abstract

Fossils sometimes show unusual morphological features absent in living organisms, making it difficult to reconstruct both their affinity and their function. We describe here a newlacewing larva, Ankyloleon caudatus gen. et sp.n. (Neuroptera) from the Cretaceous amber of Myanmar, characterized by an abdomen unique among insects, with ‘tail-like’ terminal segments bearing a ventral pair of vesicles. Phase-contrast X-ray microtomography reveals that these structures were dense and equipped with a median duct, suggesting that they were likely pygopods used for locomotion, holding the position through adhesive secretions. Our phylogenetic analyses, combining genomic and morphological data from both living and fossil lacewings, proved critical to placing Ankyloleon gen.n. on the lacewing tree of life as an early representative of the antlion clade, Myrmeleontiformia. These results corroborate the view that derived myrmeleontiform lacewings ‘experimented’ with unusual combinations of features and specializations during their evolutionary history, some of which are now lost.
Badano, D., Fratini, M.M.L., Palermo, F., Pieroni, N., Haug, J.T., Weiterschan, T., et al. (2021). X-ray microtomography and phylogenomics provide insights into the morphology and evolution of an enigmatic Mesozoic insect larva. SYSTEMATIC ENTOMOLOGY, 46, 672-684 [10.1111/syen.12482].
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Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: http://hdl.handle.net/11590/376912
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