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Have ladybird beetles and whiteflies co-existed for at least 40 Mya?

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Abstract

The beetle family Coccinellidae is rarely recorded from fossils. Most of the records come from the nineteenth and beginning of the twentieth century. A complete list of Coccinellidae records from Baltic amber is presented and discussed. Extensive literature research provided a surprising conclusion that not a single species of Coccinellidae has been formally described from Baltic amber till now. The first two species of ladybird beetles from Eocene Baltic amber are described and placed in the genus Serangium, namely S. twardowskii sp. nov. and S. gedanicum sp. nov. Their phylogenetic placement in the subfamily Microweiseinae is provided. A key to the fossil species of Serangium is given. Extant representatives of the genus are distributed mainly in tropical areas of Asia and Oceania, and are specialised predators of whiteflies. Current discovery shows that during the Middle Eocene, the genus Serangium was distributed wider in the Northern Hemisphere and the evolution of these ladybird beetles was probably influenced by the evolution of whiteflies which are also found in the Baltic amber.

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Acknowledgements

We would like to thank Mr. Piotr Twardowski (Gdańsk, Poland) for his generous donation of the ladybird beetle specimen that is here described to the MAIG, and Mr. Jonas Damzen (Vilnus, Lithuania) who made it possible to study the second specimen. We would also like to thank our colleagues from the University of Gdańsk for their great help in preparation of this manuscript, Elżbieta Sontag and Błażej Bojarski. Agnieszka Klikowicz (International Amber Association, Gdańsk) is acknowledged for her kind help with FT-IR spectra analysis. We would like to thank André Nel and Adam Ślipiński for reviewing this manuscript and for their valuable comments.

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Correspondence to Karol Szawaryn.

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Szawaryn, K., Szwedo, J. Have ladybird beetles and whiteflies co-existed for at least 40 Mya?. PalZ 92, 593–603 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1007/s12542-018-0409-5

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