Encyclopedia of Entomology

2008 Edition
| Editors: John L. Capinera

Fossil Record of Insects

  • Marjorie A. Hoy
Reference work entry
DOI: https://doi.org/10.1007/978-1-4020-6359-6_3878
Insects have a relatively extensive fossil record, with approximately 1,263 families in 30 commonly recognized orders having been identified. Although only a few fossil insects (such as Collembola) are known from the lower Devonian, a massive radiation began sometime during the early Carboniferous, more than 325 million years ago (mya). The first insects lack wings, but winged insects (the pterygotes) soon radiated into stem groups of all major lineages, including ephemeroids, odonatoids, plecopteroids, orthopteroids, blattoids, hemipteroids, and endopterygotes. The number of orders present by the upper Permian was similar to that today although some of the orders are now extinct and new orders have evolved. Insects, as measured by the number of families, increased in diversity during the late Carboniferous and middle Permian (Table 7).
Fossil Record of Insects, Table 7

Geological time scale in millions of years and types of fossil insects found




Began mya

Extinct and...

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marjorie A. Hoy
    • 1
  1. 1.University of FloridaGainesvilleUSA