Mesozoic giant fleas from northeastern China (Siphonaptera): Taxonomy and implications for palaeodiversity
- 1.1k Downloads
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.
KeywordsMesozoic flea Pseudopulicidae Tarwiniidae diversity ectoparasitism Daohugou fauna Jehol fauna
- 4.Grimaldi D, Engel M S. Evolution of the Insects. New York: Cambridge University Press, 2005. 470–491Google Scholar
- 5.Perrichot V, Beaucournu J C, Velten J. First extinct genus of a flea (Siphonaptera: Pulicidae) in Miocene amber from the Dominican Republic. Zootaxa, 2012, 3438: 54–61Google Scholar
- 6.Jell P A, Duncan P M. Invertebrates, mainly insects, from the freshwater Lower Cretaceous, Koonwarra Fossil Bed (Korumburra Group), South Gippsland, Victoria. Mem Assoc Australas Palaeontol, 1986, 3: 111–205Google Scholar
- 8.Ponomarenko A G. A new insect from the Cretaceous of Transbaikalia, a possible parasite of pterosaurians. Paleontol J, 1976, 10: 339–343Google Scholar
- 19.Chang M M. The Jehol Biota: The emergence of feathered dinosaurs, beaked birds and flowering plants. Shanghai: Shanghai Scientific & Technical Publishers, 2003. 1–208Google Scholar
- 20.Wu H. Fauna Sinica, Insecta, Siphonaptera (in Chinese). 2nd ed. Beijing: Science Press, 2007. 1–2174Google Scholar
- 22.Huang D, Wu H, Dong F. The discover and priliminary study of fossil caddis case in China (in Chinese). Acta Palaeontol Sin, 2009, 48: 646–654Google Scholar
Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 2.0 International License (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.