, Volume 92, Issue 1, pp 35–63 | Cite as

Ichneumonid parasitoid wasps from the Early Eocene Green River Formation: five new species and a revision of the known fauna (Hymenoptera, Ichneumonidae)

  • Tamara SpasojevicEmail author
  • Gavin R. Broad
  • Andrew M. R. Bennett
  • Seraina Klopfstein
Research Paper


The parasitoid wasp family Ichneumonidae is one of the most species-rich groups of organisms, but its fossil record remains very poorly studied, which impedes inferences of the origin of its diversity. We here describe two new fossil genera and five new species of Ichneumonidae from the Eocene Green River Formation: Carinibus molestus gen. et sp. nov., Ichninsum appendicrassum gen. et sp. nov., Mesoclistus? yamataroti sp. nov., Scambus? mandibularis sp. nov., and Scambus? parachuti sp. nov. The newly described Mesoclistus? yamataroti represents the first record of the subfamily Acaenitinae from this fossil locality. In addition, we revise the ten previously described fossil ichneumonids from the Green River Formation, following a conservative approach when re-assessing their taxonomic positions: we keep the current placement of six revised fossils, but express the uncertainty in genus-assignment according to open nomenclature rules: Eclytus? lutatus Scudder, Glypta? transversalis Scudder, Pimpla? eocenica Cockerell, Phygadeuon? petrifactellus Cockerell, Plectiscidea? lanhami Cockerell and Rhyssa? juvenis Scudder. We exclude three fossil genera from their current subfamilies and place them within Ichneumonidae incertae subfamiliae: Eopimpla Cockerell, Lithotorus Scudder and Tilgidopsis Cockerell. Furthermore, we move Tryphon amasidis Cockerell and LeVeque to the new genus Trymectus gen. nov. In the light of these revisions, we discuss the importance of careful taxonomic placement of fossils and difficulties in ichneumonid palaeontology caused by host-related homoplasies and a lack of knowledge about the age of the recent subfamilies.


Fossil Hymenoptera Open taxonomy New species Ypresian Colorado USA 


Die parasitoide Wespenfamilie Ichneumonidae ist eine der artenreichsten Organismengruppen—ihr Fossilbericht ist jedoch kaum untersucht, was Rückschlüsse auf den Ursprung ihrer Diversität erschwert. Hier werden zwei neue fossile Gattungen und fünf neue Arten der Ichneumonidae aus der eozänen Green River-Formation beschrieben: Carinibus molestus gen. nov. et sp. nov., Ichninsum appendicrassum gen. nov. et sp. nov., Mesoclistus? yamataroti sp. nov., Scambus? mandibularis sp. nov. und Scambus? parachuti sp. nov. Die neu beschriebene Art Mesoclistus? yamataroti stellt den ersten Nachweis der Unterfamilie Acaenitinae aus dieser Fossilfundstelle dar. Zusätzlich revidieren wir die zehn bereits beschriebenen Ichneumoniden aus der Green River-Formation und unternehmen eine konservative Neubewertung ihrer taxonomischen Position: die gegenwärtige Anordnung sechs revidierter Fossilien wird beibehalten, die Unsicherheit in der Gattungszuordnung jedoch nach den Regeln der offenen Nomenklatur zum Ausdruck gebracht: Eclytus? lutatus Scudder, Glypta? transversalis Scudder, Pimpla? eocenica Cockerell, Phygadeuon? petrifactellus Cockerell, Plectiscidea? lanhami Cockerell und Rhyssa? juvenis Scudder. Drei fossile Gattungen werden aus den bisherigen Unterfamilien entnommen und nun innerhalb der Ichneumonidae incertae subfamiliae eingeordnet: Eopimpla Cockerell, Lithotorus Scudder und Tilgidopsis Cockerell. Ausserdem wird Tryphon amasidis Cockerell und LeVeque in die neue Gattung Trymectus gen. nov. gestellt. In Hinblick auf diese Revisionen werden die Bedeutung einer sorgfältigen taxonomischen Einordnung von Fossilien sowie die Schwierigkeiten innerhalb der Ichneumoniden-Paläontologie in Bezug auf wirtsbezogene Homoplasien sowie der fehlenden Kenntnis über das Alter ichneumonider Unterfamilien diskutiert.


Fossile Hymenoptera Offene Nomenklatur neue Arten Ypresium Colorado USA 



We are grateful to Marsh Finnegan (NMNH), Talia Karim (UCM) and their institutions for specimen loans. Also, many thanks to Alan M. Rulis (NMNH), David Zelagin (UCM) and Ricardo Pérez-de la Fuente (MCZ) for taking photographs of fossil types and to the Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, for allowing reproduction of their images. Martin Schwarz (Linz) provided invaluable taxonomic advice on the interpretation of several fossils. We would also like to thank Bernhard Hostettler, Ursula Menkveld-Gfeller and Achim G. Reisdorf (all Natural History Museum Bern, NMBE) for help with the taphonomic interpretation of the fossils and useful comments on the manuscript. Christian Kropf (NMBE) provided advice on taxonomic issues. Finally, we thank Mike Reich (Bayerische Staatssammlung für Paläontologie und Geologie Munich), Dmitry Kopylov (Paleontological Institute, Russian Academy of Science) and Andrei Nél (Muséum National d’Histoire Naturelle) for constructive criticism on an earlier version of this manuscript. This study was supported by grant PZ00P3_154791 of the Swiss National Science Foundation.


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© Paläontologische Gesellschaft 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Naturhistorisches Museum der Burgergemeinde BernBernSwitzerland
  2. 2.Institute of Ecology and EvolutionUniversity of BernBernSwitzerland
  3. 3.Department of Life SciencesNatural History MuseumLondonUK
  4. 4.Canadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids and Nematodes, Agriculture and Agri-food CanadaOttawaCanada

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