Organisms Diversity & Evolution

, Volume 12, Issue 1, pp 51–56 | Cite as

An exquisitely preserved harvestman (Arthropoda, Arachnida, Opiliones) from the Middle Jurassic of China

  • Gonzalo Giribet
  • Ana Lúcia Tourinho
  • ChungKun Shih
  • Dong Ren
Original Article


Sclerosomatids constitute the largest family of the arachnid order Opiliones, and one of the two families commonly found in the temperate regions of the northern Hemisphere. Harvestmen have a sparse fossil record in the Mesozoic, with only two species known from the Jurassic, one of them poorly preserved and none with precise phylogenetic placement. Here we report a new fossil, Mesobunus dunlopi sp. nov., from the Middle Jurassic (approx. 165 Mya) of Daohugou, Inner Mongolia, China. The new species is related to another genus of the same formation, but the preservation quality and details of the penis and pedipalps allow us to place them in the extant sclerosomatid subfamilies Gagrellinae or Leiobuninae. The first recognisable fossil in this subfamily highlights morphological stasis over ca. 165 Mya and the finding of this species along with lacustrine insects suggests a life mode similar to that of some modern sclerosomatids, and a possible connection between morphological and ecological stasis.


Mesozoic Fossil Sclerosomatidae Gagrellinae Leiobuninae 



This research is supported by grants from the National Natural Science Foundation of China (No. 40872022, 30811120038, 31071964), the National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program) (2012CB821906), Scientific Research Key Program (KZ200910028005), PHR Project of Beijing Municipal Commission of Education (20090509, 201107120), the Museum of Comparative Zoology, and Capes (grant PNPD #03017/09-5 to A.L.T.). Olaf Bininda-Emonds, Jason Bond and three anonymous reviewers provided insightful comments that contributed to improving this article.


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Copyright information

© Gesellschaft für Biologische Systematik 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.College of Life SciencesCapital Normal UniversityBeijingChina
  2. 2.Museum of Comparative Zoology and Department of Organismic and Evolutionary BiologyHarvard UniversityCambridgeUSA
  3. 3.Instituto Nacional de Pesquisas da Amazônia – INPACoordenação de Pesquisas em Entomologia (CPEN)ManausBrasil

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