Chinese Science Bulletin

, Volume 58, Issue 14, pp 1682–1690

Mesozoic giant fleas from northeastern China (Siphonaptera): Taxonomy and implications for palaeodiversity

Authors

    • State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and PalaeontologyChinese Academy of Sciences
  • Michael S. Engel
    • Division of Entomology, Natural History Museum, and Department of Ecology & Evolutionary BiologyUniversity of Kansas
  • ChenYang Cai
    • State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and PalaeontologyChinese Academy of Sciences
  • André Nel
    • CNRS UMR 7205, CP 50, EntomologieMuséum National d’Histoire Naturelle
Open AccessArticle Geology

DOI: 10.1007/s11434-013-5769-3

Cite this article as:
Huang, D., Engel, M.S., Cai, C. et al. Chin. Sci. Bull. (2013) 58: 1682. doi:10.1007/s11434-013-5769-3

Abstract

The recently discovered definite giant fleas from the Middle Jurassic Daohugou fauna and the Early Cretaceous Jehol fauna of northeastern China represent significant evidence for understanding ectoparasitism in the Mesozoic as well as the evolution of these giant blood feeders with their putative hosts (i.e. hairy or feathered vertebrates). On the basis of seven well-preserved specimens from Daohugou and Huangbanjigou we analyse the systematic classification of these primitive fleas, establishing two new genera and three new species as Pseudopulex wangi sp. nov., Hadropsylla sinica gen. et sp. nov., and Tyrannopsylla beipiaoensis gen. et sp. nov. All of them are assigned to the extinct siphonapteran family Pseudopulicidae, while the Early Cretaceous genus Tarwinia is transferred to Tarwiniidae fam. nov. The basal morphological disparities of Siphonaptera in the Mesozoic are evidenced by the occurrence of at least three distinct groups (pseudopulicids, tarwiniids, and saurophthirids). These disparate morphologies likely indicate adaptations to different hosts.

Keywords

MesozoicfleaPseudopulicidaeTarwiniidaediversityectoparasitismDaohugou faunaJehol fauna
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© The Author(s) 2013