Recently discovered amber-preserved fossil Cicadellidae exhibit combinations of morphological traits not observed in the modern fauna and have the potential to shed new light on the evolution of this highly diverse family. To place the fossils explicitly within a phylogenetic context, representatives of five extinct genera from Cretaceous Myanmar amber, and one from Eocene Baltic amber were incorporated into a matrix comprising 229 discrete morphological characters and representatives of all modern subfamilies. Phylogenetic analyses yielded well resolved and largely congruent estimates that support the monophyly of most previously recognized cicadellid subfamilies and indicate that the treehoppers are derived from a lineage of Cicadellidae. Instability in the morphology-based phylogenies is mainly confined to deep internal splits that received low branch support in one or more analyses and also were not consistently resolved by recent phylogenomic analyses. Placement of fossil taxa is mostly stable across analyses. Three new Cretaceous leafhopper genera, Burmotettix gen. nov., Kachinella gen nov., and Viraktamathus gen. nov., consistently form a monophyletic group distinct from extant leafhopper subfamilies and are placed in Burmotettiginae subfam. nov. Extinct Cretaceous fossils previously placed in Ledrinae and Signoretiinae are recovered as sister to modern representatives of these groups. Eomegophthalmus Dietrich and Gonçalves from Baltic amber consistently groups with a lineage comprising treehoppers, Megophthalminae, Ulopinae, and Eurymelinae but its position is unstable. Overall, the morphology-based phylogenetic estimates agree with recent phylogenies based on molecular data alone suggesting that morphological traits recently used to diagnose subfamilies are generally informative of phylogenetic relationships within this group.more » « less
- Award ID(s):
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- Oxford University Press
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- Insect Systematics and Diversity
- Medium: X
- Sponsoring Org:
- National Science Foundation
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c. 130‐million‐year‐old association in Lebanese amber composed of multiple neonate green lacewing larvae, Tragichrysa ovoruptoragen. et sp. nov. (Neuroptera, Chrysopoidea), and conspecific egg remains. Egg bursters with a serrated blade bearing a short process are attached to three longitudinally split egg shells. Embryos of extant green lacewing relatives (Chrysopidae) utilize this egg burster morphotype to open a vertical slit on the egg, after which the burster is moulted and left joined to the empty egg shell. Additionally, the new larval species has extremely elongate dorsal tubercles, an adaptation to carry exogenous debris for protection and camouflage also known from other Cretaceous chrysopoids but absent in modern relatives. The present discovery demonstrates that the hatching mechanism of modern green lacewings was established in the chrysopoid lineage by the Early Cretaceous and proves through direct fossil evidence how some morphological traits related to hatching and linked behaviours, at least in insect embryos, have been subject to a high degree of evolutionary conservatism.
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