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Naturwissenschaften

, Volume 95, Issue 2, pp 91–97 | Cite as

New fossil ants in French Cretaceous amber (Hymenoptera: Formicidae)

  • Vincent Perrichot
  • André Nel
  • Didier Néraudeau
  • Sébastien Lacau
  • Thierry Guyot
Original Paper

Abstract

Recent studies on the ant phylogeny are mainly based on the molecular analyses of extant subfamilies and do not include the extinct, only Cretaceous subfamily Sphecomyrminae. However, the latter is of major importance for ant relationships, as it is considered the most basal subfamily. Therefore, each new discovery of a Mesozoic ant is of high interest for improving our understanding of their early history and basal relationships. In this paper, a new sphecomyrmine ant, allied to the Burmese amber genus Haidomyrmex, is described from mid-Cretaceous amber of France as Haidomyrmodes mammuthus gen. and sp. n. The diagnosis of the tribe Haidomyrmecini is emended based on the new type material, which includes a gyne (alate female) and two incomplete workers. The genus Sphecomyrmodes, hitherto known by a single species from Burmese amber, is also reported and a new species described as S. occidentalis sp. n. after two workers remarkably preserved in a single piece of Early Cenomanian French amber. The new fossils provide additional information on early ant diversity and relationships and demonstrate that the monophyly of the Sphecomyrminae, as currently defined, is still weakly supported.

Keywords

Insecta Formicidae Sphecomyrminae Haidomyrmecini Cretaceous France 

Notes

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to Eric Depré for donating the piece of amber from Fouras with the sphecomyrmines reported here. We thank Gaël de Ploëg (MNHN) for preparation of some type material; Gilbert Hodebert (MNHN) for drawings of some specimens; Carl Findley for checking English; and anonymous reviewers for useful comments. This work was supported by the CNRS programme ECLIPSE II on “Cretaceous climates and ecosystems” and by Alexander von Humboldt Foundation for VP.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  • Vincent Perrichot
    • 1
  • André Nel
    • 2
  • Didier Néraudeau
    • 3
  • Sébastien Lacau
    • 4
  • Thierry Guyot
    • 5
  1. 1.Museum für Naturkunde der Humboldt-Universität zu BerlinBerlinGermany
  2. 2.Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle, Entomologie, UMR CNRS 5202ParisFrance
  3. 3.Géosciences RennesUMR CNRS 6118, Université Rennes 1Rennes cedexFrance
  4. 4.Laboratório de Zoologia e Parasitologia Animal, DEBIUniversidade Estadual do Sudoeste da BahiaItapetingaBrasil
  5. 5.LBEM–Institut de la MerUniversité La RochelleLa RochelleFrance

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