Naturwissenschaften

, Volume 96, Issue 8, pp 955–962 | Cite as

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

Original Paper

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

Daohugou Fossil Inner Mongolia Sclerosomatidae 

Notes

Acknowledgments

We acknowledge financial support from the National Science Foundation of China (grant no. 40672013, 40632010, 0630967) and the Major Basic Research Projects (2006CB806400) of MST of China. We thank three anonymous referees for their helpful comments.

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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Diying Huang
    • 1
  • Paul A. Selden
    • 2
    • 3
  • Jason A. Dunlop
    • 4
  1. 1.State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and PalaeontologyChinese Academy of SciencesNanjingPeople’s Republic of China
  2. 2.Paleontological Institute and Department of GeologyUniversity of KansasLawrenceUSA
  3. 3.Department of PalaeontologyNatural History MuseumLondonUK
  4. 4.Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz Institute for Research on Evolution and BiodiversityHumboldt University BerlinBerlinGermany

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