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Dicentrus mehli sp. n. (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) implies close trophic association between Opsimini and Calocedrus, dating the Baltic amber back to the Early Oligocene


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A new fossil cerambycid from Baltic amber, Dicentrus mehli sp. n. (Cerambycinae, Opsimini) is described and compared to extant congeners. This species is characterised by larger eyes, narrower inter-ocular space and shorter pedicle and, possibly, uniform colouring. This discovery allows confirming and pointing out the assumed hypotheses concerning the evolution of the Opsimini. In particular, the assumed association with fossil Calocedrus implies to dating the Baltic amber back to the Early Oligocene.
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Baltic J. Coleopterol. 16(1) 2016
ISSN 1407 - 8619
Until short time ago, the tribe Opsimini was
known for its split relict distribution at both
sides of the Pacific Ocean, being present with
a genus (Japonopsimus Matsushita, 1935) and
three species in western Asia and two genera
(Opsimus Mannerheim, 1843 and Dicentrus
LeConte, 1880) and three species in
Vancouverian. The discovery of two fossil
species in succinite (Europsimus germanicus
Vitali, 2011 and Japonopsimus balticus Vitali,
2014) suggested that this tribe has not trans-
Beringian distribution, as it appears today, but a
Dicentrus mehli sp. n. (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) implies close
trophic association between Opsimini and Calocedrus, dating the
Baltic amber back to the Early Oligocene
Francesco Vitali, Anders L. Daamgard
Vitali F. , Daamgard A. L. 2016. Dicentrus mehli sp. n. (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) implies
close trophic association between Opsimini and Calocedrus, dating back the Baltic amber to
the Early Oligocene Baltic J. Coleopterol., 16(1): 37 - 43.
A new fossil cerambycid from Baltic amber, Dicentrus mehli sp. n. (Cerambycinae, Opsimini)
is described and compared to extant congeners. This species is characterised by larger eyes,
narrower inter-ocular space and shorter pedicle and, possibly, uniform colouring. This dis-
covery allows confirming and pointing out the assumed hypotheses concerning the evolu-
tion of the Opsimini. In particular, the assumed association with fossil Calocedrus implies to
dating the Baltic amber back to the Early Oligocene.
Key words: Coleoptera, Cerambycidae, fossil, Baltic amber, new species.
Vitali Francesco. 7a, rue J. P. Huberty, L-1742 Luxembourg, Luxembourg; e-mail:
Anders L. Daamgard. Hornsh¸jparken 79, DK-7500 Holstebro, Denmark; e-mail:
Tertiary origin in Laurentia or probably, only in
Europe (Vitali 2011, 2014).
In this paper, the discovery of a third fossil
species in succinite reveals that the extant
Vancouverian genus Dicentrus was already
present in Europe during the late Tertiary.
The beetle is preserved inside a spherical piece
of amber having a diameter of 11 mm. On both
Vitali F. , Daamgard A. L.
upper and lower part, two spherical caps were
cut parallel to the body of the beetle in order to
obtain two circular windows having a diameter
of 9 mm. The amber also includes several
sawdust parts but no “stellate hairs” (trichomes
covering inflorescences).
Observations on the fossils were made using a
stereomicroscope Antares Geminar 3 with 20
- 40x eyepieces equipped with a micrometer
system. Pictures were taken using a camera
Imaging Source DFK 72AUC02 attached to a
trinocular microscope Nikon SMZ 745T. The
reconstruction of the habitus (Fig. 3) was
obtained with mixed traditional-computer
graphic techniques.
According to the owner’s intentions, type
materials will be deposited at the Zoological
Museum University of Copenhagen (Denmark).
Cerambycinae Latreille, 1802
Opsimini LeConte, 1873
Dicentrus LeConte, 1880
Dicentrus mehli sp. n.
(Figs. 1-2)
Holotype. Specimen ALDC0068. The beetle
lacks the apical part of the right antenna, cut
after half of the antennomere VI, due to the
amber modelling.
The death position, with both hind wings
partially opened and the distended position of
the right hind leg, suggests that the specimen
was attracted by flowing resin and drowned
searching to escape.
This position corresponds to that already
observed in Europsimus germanicus and
Japonopsimus balticus; analogously, this
amber does not contain stellate hairs but a large
number of wood residuals.
Differential diagnosis
The pronotal shape and, especially, the position
of the pre-basal spines make this fossil a patent
representative of the genus Dicentrus LeConte,
Except for body size and colour, the differences
between extant Dicentrus are slight: Linsley
(1962) mentioned different head punctuation,
but this character is undetectable in the fossil
due to turbidity of the amber.
Sharing analogue body size, D. mehli sp. n.
seems to be more closely related to D.
bluthneri LeConte, 1880 than to D. bidentatus
(Champlain & Knull, 1926); however, it differs
from both extant species in larger eyes,
narrower inter-ocular space and shorter pedicle.
In addition, while both congeners of the Recent
show a more or less extensive light colouring,
the body colour of D. mehli sp. n. seems to be
completely pitch-brown, as all other fossil and
extant Opsimini.
Concerning the fossil Europsimus germanicus
and Japonopsimus balticus, D. mehli sp. n. is
easily distinguishable in the generic characters.
Due to the double pronotal spines, D. mehli n.
sp. is similar to E. germanicus, which
principally differs in the 12-articulated
antennae and the pronotum, having basal spines
and straight base. Moreover, comparing the size
of the antennomeres in relation with that of
body, D. mehli n. sp. and E. germanicus show a
similar trend, while they are very different from
J. balticus.
Actually, the 12th antennomere of Europsimus
might be an optical illusion due to diffraction;
consequently, Europsimus could be more
similar to Dicentrus than previously supposed.
However, antennae are ~1.5 times as long as
body in Europsimus, analogous to current
Opsimus, while they are ~1.25 times as long as
body in D. mehli sp. n., analogous to current
Dicentrus. This difference is not due to
allometry since the species show analogue body
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Dicentrus mehli sp. n. (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) implies close trophic association between Opsimini and Calocedrus...
Fig. 1. Dicentrus mehli sp. n., holotype, dorsal
side. Fig. 2. Dicentrus mehli sp. n., holotype, ventral
Fig. 3. Dicentrus mehli sp. n., reconstruction.
size (4.3 and 4.6 mm); hence, Europsimus is
certainly a different taxon.
Long antennae characterise Japonopsimus as
well; thus, they seem to be an archaic character
of Opsimini.
Male, body length 4.3 mm. General habitus
small, flat, pitch-brown, densely covered with
a dark pubescence.
Head short; forehead vertical, sculpture not
detectable; antennal tubercles widely separated
and scarcely elevated; inter-antennal space
narrow, one-half as wide as the upper eye-lobes;
inter-antennal furrow very fine, prolonged to
the cranial base; eyes large, coarsely faceted,
very strongly reniform, and scarcely prominent;
under eye-lobes nearly occupying all space of
cheeks. Maxillar palpomeres sub-equal, last
palpomere evidently longer than the preceding
one, elliptical, obliquely truncated at the apex.
Antennae 11-segmented, 1.24 times as long as
body (the apex of the antennomere VIII
surpasses the elytral apex); antennomeres
Vitali F. , Daamgard A. L.
Fig. 5. Distribution of fossil (crosses) and extant species (circles) of Calocedrus. Crosses and
circles indicate spot distributions; areas indicate wide distribution of extant species.
Fig. 4. Distribution of fossil (crosses) and extant genera (circles) of Opsimini: Dicentrus (red),
Europsimus (blue), Japonopsimus (yellow) and Opsimus (green). Crosses and circles indicate
spot distributions; areas indicate wide distribution of extant species.
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Dicentrus mehli sp. n. (Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) implies close trophic association between Opsimini and Calocedrus...
cylindrical, covered with a fairly dense semi-
recumbent pubescence; scape sub-conical,
fairly elongated (surpassing the anterior margin
of the pronotum); pedicle elongated, twice as
long as wide, one-third as long as scape;
antennomere III two-thirds as long as scape;
antennomere IV one-fourth longer than
previous; antennomere V longest, one-half
longer than previous; antennomere VI-VII equal,
as long as scape; the remaining gradually
shortened (antennomere proportions according
to the formula: 1.2: 0.4: 0.8: 1.0: 1.5: 1.2: 1.2:
1.1: 1.0: 1.0: 0.8, the measure of the last three
antennomeres is unsure due to their position
among the legs).
Prothorax weakly transverse, hardly larger than
head and narrower than elytra; apex feebly
convex; sides posteriorly convergent, each
armed with two backward directed acutely
conical spines, one at the middle and the other
shortly before the base; base anteriorly concave
in the middle; disc flat, densely covered with a
fine puncturing. Scutellum small, semicircular,
Elytra more than 2.5 times as long as wide at
shoulders, feebly enlarged posteriorly, flat
above; base straight; shoulders rounded; apices
largely separately rounded; disc without
longitudinal ridges, covered with semi-
recumbent pubescence and punctuation
extremely dense and finer than that of the
Ventral side hardly observable due to a dense
covering of sawdust and numerous small
bubbles. It shows a fine sparse puncturing and
some short recumbent setae; procoxae globose,
procoxal cavities rounded externally, not
observable posteriorly; mesocoxal cavities not
observable; visible urosternite I as long as II,
remaining urosternites progressively
Legs relatively short, covered with a dense short
recumbent pubescence; femora clavate; tibiae
linear; tarsi short; metatarsi less than one-half
as long as metatibiae; metatarsomere I as long
as the remaining tarsomeres together.
This new species is dedicated to the recently
departed specialist in Fennoscandian
cerambycids Ole Mehl, who opened to the
second author the possibility to start with the
study of amber.
Assumed evolution of Opsimini
The new paleontological data corroborate the
dependence of the Opsimini on Cupressaceae,
as previously assumed (Vitali 2011).
Considering the hosts of the current taxa, only
those of the American ones are known (Linsley
1962): Abies, Pinus, Pseudotsuga, Sequoia
and Calocedrus. Both Abies and Pinus - still
present here - cannot explain the extinction of
the whole tribe in Europe. Moreover, since
Pseudotsuga migrated from North America to
Asia (Schorn & Thompson, 1998) and Sequoia
appeared in Europe during the Miocene (Chaney
1951), Opsimini should have begun to depend
on these genera only in the Neogene.
Since no other hosts are known for current
Opsimini, Calocedrus seems to be the original
host of this tribe. As Opsimini, it includes
species in mountains of Vancouverian, China,
Taiwan, Indochina and a fossil species -
Calocedrus suleticensis (Brabenec) Kvaček -
which lived in central Europe from the Early
Olig ocene to the Early Miocen e (Kva ček
1999). Another Oligocene fossil was
discovered in south China (Shi et al. 2012),
where most of the extant congeners are
widespread (Fig. 5).
The updated distribution of this tribe
strengthens and points out the assumed
hypotheses (Vitali 2011, 2014) concerning the
evolution of the Opsimini: (1) the oldest known
Vitali F. , Daamgard A. L.
fossil records are from late Tertiary of Europe,
which can be supposed the evolution centre of
the tribe (2) the tribe depends primarily on
Cupressaceae, Calocedrus being the most
probable original or preferential host; (3) the
tribe spread eastwards following this plant,
possibly already during the Oligocene; (4)
Dicentrus and Opsimus (the latter extremely
similar to Japonopsimus) are trans-Beringian
genera with European ancestors, which possibly
colonised North America during the Miocene.
Conversely, the current absence of Dicentrus
in Asia is hardly explicable. The supposed
Laurentian distribution of this genus (Vitali
2011) seems to be too ancient to allow the
survival of the same genus since that epoch. A
possible explanation might be that ancient
Dicentrus, colonised colder Eurasian localities
and widespread through Bering without never
reaching Indochina. Or, further Dicentrus
species should be still discovered in South-
eastern Asia.
Assumed biology of Dicentrus mehli n. sp.
Currently, the genus Dicentrus includes two
species widespread in the temperate coniferous
forests covering the middle-mountain ranges
along the Western coast of the Unites States
(Fig. 4). Dicentrus bluthneri shows a large
distribution, being widespread from California
to British Columbia, while D. bidentatus seems
to be present only in Oregon. The latter species
was also recorded from California, but the
examples were considered as doubtful (Linsley,
Hence, the same hypotheses given for the other
fossil Opsimini (Vitali, 2011; 2014) may be
inferred for O. mehli n. sp.: this species was a
temperate or even cold element of the Baltic
fauna, which shared the same habitat of
Nothorhina granulicollis Zang, 1905. But, in
contrast to this genus, typically related to the
Pinaceae (Vitali, 2006), the dependence on
temperate Cupressaceae made Dicentrus more
vulnerable to the dramatic climatic changes
occurred during the Neogene, causing its
Consequences on Baltic climate and dating
Opsimini of the Recent are widespread in
mountains of temperate areas and in relict
mountain localities of subtropical areas (Fig.
4), evidencing their temperate or cryophilic
bioclimatic preferences. This suggests that
Baltic forests had temperate and not subtropical
conditions, a fact confirmed by the well-known
extraordinary abundance of the genus
Nothorhina in Baltic amber (Zang 1905; Klebs
1910; Hieke & Pietrzeniuk 1984; Vitali 2006;
2009, 2011).
According to the temperature curve based on
oxygen isotope measurement (Buchardt 1978),
such temperate conditions occurred in Europe
only since the Early Oligocene.
The fact that Calocedrus was present in Europe
just since this age agrees in supporting a more
modern dating for Baltic amber, referring it to
the Early Oligocene (Vitali 2009, 2011, 2014,
2015), as already supposed in the past (Noetling
1883, 1888).
Buchardt B. 1978. Oxygen isotope
paleotemperatures from the Tertiary period
of North Sea Area. Nature. 275: 121-123.
Chaney R.W. 1951. Revision of fossil Sequoia
and Taxodium in western North America
based on the recent discovery of
Metasequoia. Transactions of the American
Philosophical Society. 40: 171-263.
Hieke F. & Pietrzeniuk E. 1984. Die Bernstein-
Käfer des Museums zur Naturkunde, Berlin
(Insecta, Coleoptera). Mitteilungen aus dem
Zoologischen Museum für Naturkunde in
Berlin. 60 (2): 297-326.
Klebs R. 1910. Über Bernsteineinschlüsse in
allgemeinen und die Coleopteren meiner
Bernsteinsammlung. Schriften der
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Physikalisch-ökonomischen Gesellschaft.
51: 217-242.
Kvek Z. 1999. An an ci ent Cal oc ed rus
(Cupressaceae) from the European Tertiary.
Flora 194: 237-248.
Linsley E.G. 1962. The Cerambycidae of North
America. Part III. Taxonomy and
classification of the subfamily
Cerambycinae, tribes Opsimini through
Megaderini. University of California
Publications in Entomology 20, University
of California Press, Berkeley and Los
Angeles. 188 pp.
Noetling F. 1883. Über das Alter der
samländischen Tertiärformation. Zeitschrift
der Deutschen Geologischen Gesellschaft.
35: 671-694.
Noetling F. 1888. Die Fauna des samländischen
Tertiärs. Teil 2 (Gasteropoda, Pelycypoda,
Bryozoa). Abhandlungen zur geologischen
Spezialkarte von Preußen und den
Thüringischen Staaten. 6: 1-109.
Shi G., Zhou Z., Xie Z. 2012. A new Oligocene
Calocedrus from south China and its
implications for transpacific floristic
exchanges. American Journal of Botany. 99
(1): 108-120.
Schorn H.E., Thompson A. 1998. The genus
Pseudotsuga: a revision of the fossil record
and inferred paleo-biogeographical and
migrational patterns. Poster of the meeting
“Integrative Paleontology and the Future”,
The University of California, Berkeley
Museum of Paleontology. 28 February
Vitali F. 2006. Taxonomic, biological and
evolutionistic notes on the Spondylidinae
included in Baltic amber (Coleoptera,
Cerambycidae). Entomapeiron (P. S.). 1 (3):
Vitali F. 2009. The cerambycids included in
Baltic amber: current knowledge status with
the description of new taxa (Coleoptera,
Cerambycidae). Denisia. 69: 231-242.
Vitali F. 2011. Six new fossil Cerambycids
included in Baltic and Saxon amber
(Coleoptera Cerambycidae). Entomapeiron
(P. S.), 4 (1): 1-34.
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(Coleoptera: Cerambycidae) from Baltic
amber belonging to the collection Hoffeins.
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Vitali F. 2015. Mesalocerus tetropoides n. gen.
n. sp. from Baltic amber: the first fossil
member of the tribe Anisarthrini Mamaev
& Danilevsky, 1973 (Coleoptera,
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232-245+1 Tab.
Received: 29.03.2016
Accepted: 01.06.2016
... This corresponds to the same climatic preferences of those extant taxa whose ancestors have been found in Baltic amber, e.g. some Bembidion (Schmidt & Michalik 2017), Nothorhina, Japonopsimus, Dicentrus, Procleomenes (Vitali 2006, 2018, Vitali & Damgaard 2016 and probably, Eurapatophysis, Obrium and Acanthoglyptus (Alekseev & Vitali 2020, Vitali 2015, 2016. Again, this should suggest a more recent dating of Baltic amber. ...
... The Baltic-Vancouverian distribution of the genus Paratimia exactly retraces that of Dicentrus LeConte, 1880 (Cerambycinae Opsimini), raising the same questions about its origin: Laurentian or trans-Beringian? However, differently from this genus, for which a primitive exclusive association to Calocedrus was hypothesised (Vitali & Damgaard 2016), pines are still present in all temperate Eurasia. Thus, this does not allow correlating the current absence of this beetle in Eurasia to the extinction of its host. ...
Full-text available
A new fossil cerambycid, Paratimia succinicola sp. n. (Spondylidinae, Atimiini) is described based on one specimen preserved in Baltic amber. Morphological comparison is made with the extant Vancouverian Paratimia conicola Fisher, 1915. Phylogenetic, biological and palaeogeographical remarks on the tribe Atimiini are added. Saphanites mirabilis Vitali, 2011 is transferred from the tribe Saphanini to Atimiini.
... In all evidence, archaic Pogonocherus originally shared the same habitat of Nothorhina granulicollis Zang, 1905(Vitali, 2006. The permanence of this kind of habitat in Europe allowed the survival of this genus, contrary to Dicentrus LeConte, 1880 and to Paratimia Fisher, 1915, for which the primitive exclusive association with Calocedrus (Vitali & Damgaard 2016) or with particular types of pines (Vitali, 2020) was hypothesised to support their extinction in Eurasia. ...
Full-text available
Two new fossil cerambycids, Pogonocherus minimus sp. n. and Pogonocherus scutellaris sp. n. (Lamiinae: Pogonocherini) are described based on specimens preserved in Baltic amber. Morphological comparison is made with the extant congeners. Phylogenetic and palaeobiological remarks on the genus Pogonocherus Dejean, 1821 are added.
... In contrast with Europe the biodiversity centre is in montane regions, particularly in California (Ramsdale, 2002). This fact suggests, rather, a Trans-Beringian Pliocene spread of temperate-cold species, as for example the fossil Opsimini (Coleoptera Cerambycidae) from Baltic amber (Vitali and Damgaard, 2016). The oldest finds of the Silinae subfamily are the species included in Baltic amber to which an Eocene species, as adpression, from fossiliferous deposits of Florissant, Colorado, USA (Wickham, 1914;Fanti, 2017), and an undescribed specimen from the argillaceous limestone of the Tertiary strata (Eocene or Oligocene) of Aixen-Provence, France (de Serres, 1843;Pictet, 1854;Fanti, 2017), are added. ...
Full-text available
Only in recent years have new genera and species of the subfamily Silinae Mulsant, 1862 been described as inclusions in amber. However, no representative of the genus Silis Charpentier, 1825 had been described from Baltic amber, even if few specimens were already known at the generic level. Silis lombardii sp. nov. is entirely dark brown and shows (as usual for the genus) the two characteristic lobes in the sides of pronotum, elongated elytra, and a basal small tooth only on the anterior claws. The Eocene findings show that the subfamily is of ancient origin and that at least in the Eocene it was much more abundant than today in the same territories, where only two species are known. ( 3D24-41DA-86CC-7DCAB40DC3B7)
... Mya and 37. 8-33.9 Mya (wolFe et al. 2009;weitschat & wicharD 2010), but is sometimes attributed to Oligocene (e.g., Burleigh & whalley 1983;vitali & DamgaarD 2016). The specimen was repolished in order to highlight the dorsal and ventral views and was later donated by me to the Illinois Natural History Survey, University of Illinois at UrbanaChampaign, USA. ...
Full-text available
A new species of soldier beetle of the genus Malthodes is described from Eocene Baltic amber of the Kaliningrad region, Russia. The new species is placed within the subgenus Libertimalthodes based on the long elytra cover ing the last abdominal segments, the last ventrite wide and little modified, and the markedly larger aedeagus. Malthodes (Libertimalthodes) spaceae sp. nov. is the third fossil species of the subgenus Libertimalthodes and is distinguished from congeners by the last ventrite narrower and not concave in the middle of the apex or by shorter last tergite and bigger aedeagus. The recent discovery of three specimens (including M. spaceae sp. nov.) with long elytra can shed light on the origin of the genus.
... MY) but sometimes also Oligocene (e.g. Noetling 1883;Jeannel 1949;Laurentiaux 1953;Vitali & Damgaard 2016). All amber specimens were re-polished in order to highlight dorsal and ventral views, examined with a Nikon SMZ 745T stereomicroscope and photographed with a camera Imaging Source DFK 72AUC02 attached to a trinocular microscope. ...
Full-text available
In this paper, the authors describe and illustrate four new fossil genera and fifteen new fossil species of soldier beetles from Baltic amber belonging to the collection of Anders Damgaard: Eridanula n. gen., Noergaardia n. gen., Juratelacrima n. gen., Palmnickeneoceras n. gen., Cacomorphocerus bentifabrici n. sp., Cacomorphocerus madseni n. sp., Eridanula susannaebierae n. sp., Noergaardia dinae n. sp., Cantharis (Cyrtomoptila) mikkelsenorum n. sp., Juratelacrima ballingi n. sp., Palmnickeneoceras ejersboi n. sp., Podistra (Absidia) kloevedali n. sp., Rhagonycha (s. str.) nielsenae n. sp., Themus (Haplothemus) bennyianderseni n. sp., Malthinus (s. str.) rifbjergi n. sp., Malthodes (s. str.) henningseni n. sp., Malthodes (s. str.) moellehavei n. sp., Kuskaella bajerae n. sp., and Autosilis annisettaekoppelae n. sp. The presence of the genus Themus Motschulsky, 1858 in Eocene Baltic amber allows assumptions to be made about the origin of the genus or the age of amber. The genera Eridanula and Norgaardia belong to the recently established tribe Cacomorphocerini Fanti & Kupryjanowicz, 2018 based on having the same shape of the antennae but with more antennomeres (17-19). Furthermore, Podistra kloevedali is the first described fossil species of the genus, until now known only at the generic level.
... Despite the long history of Baltic amber research, there is still much uncertainty in precise dates, largely owing to its repeated redeposition (Grigelis et al., 1971;Perkovsky et al., 2007) and production over potentially millions of years in a vast and heterogeneous northern European forested region (Weitschat and Wichard, 2010;Szwedo & Sontag, 2013;Alekseev and Alekseev, 2016;Bogri et al., 2018). Age estimates thus range from the Early to Middle Eocene (e.g., Ritzkowski, 1997;Alekseev and Alekseev, 2016), to the Late Eocene (e.g., Kaplan et al., 1977;Perkovsky et al., 2007), and even Early Oligocene (Vitali and Daamgard, 2016). ...
Ambers—fossilized plant resins—are a rich and unique source of paleoecological data due to their ability to preserve soft body fossils. However, interpretations concerning their environmental context are often hampered by uncertainties in the relationship between assemblages of inclusions and geological context, particularly in the case of secondarily redeposited ambers such as those from the Paleogene of Central Europe. Here we use stable carbon and hydrogen isotope analyses, as well as FTIR spectroscopy, from the northwestern Ukrainian Rovno amber deposit, to provide independent constraints on the geographic and temporal origins of Rovno amber. These analyses address the relationship between the Rovno and Baltic amber deposits as well as German Bitterfeld amber—a subject of considerable debate regarding their provenance. Rovno amber has a δ¹³C signature of −23.3 ± 0.9‰, similar to both Baltic and Bitterfeld ambers. Since there is a secular decreasing δ¹³C trend among amber deposits since the Early Eocene, a roughly contemporaneous origin of these deposits in the Eocene can be deduced. However, Rovno amber displays a δ²H signature of −258 ± 9‰, 19‰ more positive than Baltic amber, and directly comparable to Bitterfeld amber. This difference relates to precipitation sources and mean annual temperatures of the amber source regions, and suggests a much more southerly origin of Rovno amber relative to Baltic amber. FTIR spectra of each of these ambers are nearly identical and suggest that resin-producing trees were from similar families, despite contrasting source regions. Thus, we provide the first clear geochemical evidence for the distinct origin of Rovno and Baltic amber deposits, with implications for paleoecological studies involving inclusions from these deposits, and for determining the provenance of archaeological amber finds.
... Nothorhina granulicollis Zang, 1905, by far the most abundant longhorn in succinite (Zang 1905;Klebs 1910;Hieke & Pietrzeniuk 1984;Vitali 2006), shows extant congeners in zones not particularly humid as Sweden and Siberia or even semi-arid as southern Italy (Calabria and Sicily). The same occurs to Dicentrus mehli Vitali & Damgaard, 2016, whose extant congeners inhabit the temperate coniferous forests covering the middle-mountain ranges of the Pacific Mountain System. Other extinct Baltic genera -Mesalocerus Vitali, 2015; Eurapatophysis Vitali, 2016 -show evident affinities with extant genera adapted to variable climatic conditions, including dry summers, supported by the recent description of the xerophilic darkling beetle Asida groehni (Soldati & Nabozhenko 2017). ...
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The genus Tillomorphites Vitali, 2011 is revised with the description of two new species from Baltic Amber: Tillomorphites spinipes n. sp. and Tillomorphites otiliae n. sp. New observations and an improved reconstruction of Tillomorphites robustus Vitali, 2011 are provided. The typical characters of this genus are shared by the Ecuadorian extant species Euderces elachys Martins & Galileo, 2013 so that Tillomorphites elachys (Martins & Galileo, 2013) n. comb. is proposed. Biogeographical and biologic remarks on the genus Tillomorphites and on the phylogeny of Tillomorphini concerning distribution and morphologic evolution are hypothesised.
We used phylogenomic data and information from the beetle fossil record to reconstruct the phylogeny and historical biogeography of Australasian longhorn beetles (Cerambycidae) in the subfamily Lamiinae. We further focused our study on the distribution of proposed diagnostic morphological characters in Lamiinae, and on the phylogeny of Rhytiphora Audinet‐Serville, Australia's most species‐rich genus of longhorn beetles. Lamiinae was monophyletic, but the majority of tribes were poly‐ or paraphyletic. Within Lamiinae, we recovered four main clades, including one clade mostly comprised of Australian endemic genera of probable Gondwanan origin. This clade also contained taxa that dispersed from Australia to New Zealand and experienced multiple independent instances of wing loss. Another of the four clades contained Australian genera that colonized the region from Asia, including Rhytiphora. The defining feature of Rhytiphora, the setose ‘sex patches’ on the male abdomen, was shared with many other Asian lamiine genera recovered in the same clade. Our results shed new light on the geographic and temporal origins of Australian Lamiinae, revealing an unexpected mixture of both ancient Gondwanan and recent Asian origins. Moreover, we confirmed rampant nonmonophyly at the tribal level among the Australasian genera of Lamiinae. Based on our results, we move 17 genera into Lamiinae incertae sedis and six genera into the tribe Ancitini Aurivillius. We also reinstate the tribe Niphonini Pascoe for part of the Asian‐Australian Pteropliini Thomson and synonymize Achriotypa Pascoe with Rhytiphora. We used anchored hybrid enrichment to estimate the first molecular phylogeny of the Australasian Lamiinae, with an emphasis on the species‐rich genus Rhytiphora Many tribes are not monophyletic, particularly those encompassing endemic Australian genera; we propose an updated tribal classification for these taxa The Australasian Lamiinae have multiple biogeographic origins and evolved winglessness several times independently
A new fossil leaf beetle species, Pulchritudo attenboroughi (Chrysomelidae, Sagrinae), is described from the Eocene Green River Formation in Colorado and is the second known fossil representative of this subfamily from North America. The fossil stands out by its remarkable preservation of elytral patterns. Such sharp and high-contrast preservation of exoskeletal colouration is extremely rare in the fossil record of beetles and unique in its definition and fidelity. Sagrinae currently do not occur in North America, but two extant species are present in tropical and subtropical South America, one of which is similar in several aspects to the new fossil. Many extant Sagrinae live in a warm, humid climate similar to that suggested for the Early Eocene Climatic Optimum of the Green River Formation.
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Baltic amber is a rich source of fossilized organisms and a valuable tool for evolutionary, biogeographical and palaeoenvironmental research. Because it is found in several deposits around the Baltic Sea, the exact area of origin, age in the Eocene and palaeoenvironment of the amber forest form a subject for ongoing discussion. Furthermore, there is a puzzling connection between Eocene climate change and the co‐occurrence of thermophilic and temperate insect taxa in Baltic amber, sometimes even in the same inclusions. We revisit these issues through a new piece of evidence: the rare South‐East Asian rove beetle genus Dysanabatium (11 extant species) found to be abundant in Baltic amber. We describe four new extinct species of Dysanabatium based on 13 specimens from 8 amber pieces collected in Denmark, Poland, Ukraine and Russia. These species are Dysanabatium kechrimparense sp. nov., D. aenaum sp. nov., D. damgaardi sp. nov. and D. johannesi sp. nov. The occurrence of one species, D. kechrimparense sp. nov., in the amber from all countries, as well as its co‐occurrence with D. damgaardi sp. nov. in one amber piece from Russia, suggest a possible common origin of Baltic amber from all these deposits. Dysanabatium adds to a plethora of fossil species congeneric with extant species restricted to South‐East Asia, which points to the warm and equable climate of the north European Eocene amber forest.
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Three new fossil cerambycid species from Baltic amber, Pedostrangalia (s. str.) pristina sp. n. (Lepturinae, Lepturini), Japanopsimus balticus sp. n. (Cerambycinae, Opsimini), and Stenhomalus hoffeinsorum sp. n. (Cerambycinae, Obriini) are described and compared to extant congeners and fossil allied taxa. The extant Laotian species Hypoeschrus simplex Gressitt & Rondon, 1970 is transferred to the genus Japonopsimus Matsushita, 1935 as follows: Japanopsimus simplex (Gressitt & Rondon, 1970) comb. n.
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A synopsis of all cerambycid species recorded from Baltic amber until today is provided and analysed according to the current systematic and paleontological knowledge. Only eight species result to be valid. A further new species, Encyclopidonia punctatissima n. gen. n. sp. (Cerambycidae, Lepturinae, Rhagiini), is described. The new genus Trichosieversia n. gen. for Pseudosieversia europaea Vitali is instituted. The analysis of the cerambycid Baltic fauna strongly implies the presence of temperate environmental conditions and suggests therefore to date the Baltic amber at least to the Early Oligocene.
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Premise of the study: Calocedrus is among the genera with a typical eastern Asian-western North American disjunct distribution today. The origin of its modern distribution pattern can be better understood by examining its fossil record. Methods: The present article reports for the first time a new fossil species of this genus based on compressed material from the Oligocene Ningming Formation of Guangxi, South China, in its present major distribution area in eastern Asia. Key results: Calocedrus huashanensis sp. nov. is most similar to the two extant eastern Asian species, C. macrolepis and C. formosana, in gross morphology of foliage shoots and bears a close resemblance to the latter in cuticle structure. It shows a general similarity to the North American fossil representatives of the genus in alternately branched foliage shoots but is clearly different from the European Paleogene species characterized by oppositely branched leafy shoots. Conclusions: This discovery provides new evidence for the floristic exchange of this genus between eastern Asia and North America before the Oligocene (most likely in the Eocene), presumably via the Bering land bridge. The flattened leafy shoots and dimorphic leaves with thin cuticle, open stomatal pits, and shallowly sunken guard cells of the present fossils suggest a rather humid climate during the Oligocene in the Ningming area, South China.
A cone, and a seed from the late Early Oligocene of Probostov (Holy Kluk Hill) in the volcanic complex of the Ceske stredohori Mts., North Bohemia (Central Europe) confirm the presence of Calocedrus in the Tertiary of Europe. The foliage intimately associated at Probostov, and occurring also in the same level at Suletice, is similar in opposite branching to some extant members of the Cupressaceae confined to the Southern Hemisphere (Libocedrus ENDL., Austrocedrus FLORIN & BOUTELJE, Papuacedrus LI). Although the extant species of Calocedrus are restricted to western North America and eastern Asia, Calocedrus suleticensis (BRABENEC) comb. n. indicates the earliest fossil record of Calocedrus in Europe based on reproductive structures. It differs from the extant species by more pronounced basal pair of cone scales with subterminal mucro and oppositely branched foliage. The same kind of foliage has been recovered also in the Early Oligocene of Hungary (Eger-Kiseged) and Early Miocene of Greece (Kymi).
Mesalocerus tetropoides n. gen. n. sp. (Spondylidinae, Anisarthrini) from Baltic Amber (Early Oligocene) is described. This new genus is closely related to Schurmannia Sama, 1979 and to Metalocerus Aurivillius, 1917. Relations with other member of Anisarthrini Mamaev & Danilevsky, 1973 and biogeographical considerations concerning this tribe are discussed
The fossil Spondylidinae described so far in Baltic amber are analysed. Nothorrhina granulicollis Zang, 1905 is corrected in Nothorhina granulicollis Zang, 1905. The genus Palaeoasemum Abdullah, 1967 is recognised as a younger synonym of Nothorhina Redtenbacher, 1845. Palaeoasemum crowsoni Abdullah, 1967 and Palaeoasemum duffyi Abdullah, 1967 are recognised as younger synonyms of Nothorhina granulicollis Zang, 1905. Spondylis crassicornis Giebel, 1856, whose holotype is lost, must be considered as Cerambycidae incertae sedis. The biology, the geonemy and the palaeohistory of N. granulicollis are here proposed in relationship with those of the extant congeners.
Palaeotetropium saxonicum n. gen. n. sp. (Spondylidinae Tetropiini) and Europsimus germanicus n. gen. n. sp. (Cerambycinae Opsimini) from Saxon amber, Necydalis (Necydalisca) zangi n. sp. (Lepturinae Necydalini), Saphanites mirabilis n. gen. n. sp. (Spondylidinae Saphanini), Protachryson pomeranicum n. gen. n. sp. (Cerambycinae Achrysonini) and Tillomorphites robustus n. gen. n. sp. (Cerambycinae Tillomorphini) from Baltic amber are described and compared with their related species of the Recent. The first Cerambycids coming from Saxon amber are described. The tribes Opsimini LeConte, 1873 and Tillomorphini Lacordaire, 1869 are recorded for the first time from the Western Palaearctic Region