Naturwissenschaften

, Volume 96, Issue 8, pp 955–962

Harvestmen (Arachnida: Opiliones) from the Middle Jurassic of China

Authors

  • Diying Huang
    • State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and PalaeontologyChinese Academy of Sciences
    • Paleontological Institute and Department of GeologyUniversity of Kansas
    • Department of PalaeontologyNatural History Museum
  • Jason A. Dunlop
    • Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and BiodiversityHumboldt University Berlin
Original Paper

DOI: 10.1007/s00114-009-0556-3

Cite this article as:
Huang, D., Selden, P.A. & Dunlop, J.A. Naturwissenschaften (2009) 96: 955. doi:10.1007/s00114-009-0556-3

Abstract

Harvestmen (Arachnida: Opiliones) are familiar animals in most terrestrial habitats but are rare as fossils, with only a handful of species known from each of the Palaeozoic, Mesozoic, and Cenozoic eras. Fossil harvestmen from Middle Jurassic (ca. 165 Ma) strata of Daohugou, Inner Mongolia, China, are described as Mesobunus martensi gen. et sp. nov. and Daohugopilio sheari gen. et sp. nov.; the two genera differ primarily in the relative length of their legs and details of the pedipalps. Jurassic arachnids are extremely rare and these fossils represent the first Jurassic, and only the fourth Mesozoic, record of Opiliones. These remarkably well-preserved and modern-looking fossils are assigned to the Eupnoi, whereby M. martensi demonstrably belongs in Sclerosomatidae. It thus represents the oldest record of a modern harvestman family and implies a high degree of evolutionary stasis among one of the most widespread and abundant groups of long-legged, round-bodied harvestmen.

Keywords

DaohugouFossilInner MongoliaSclerosomatidae

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009