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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
INTRODUCTION
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:
vitalfranz@yahoo.de
Anders L. Daamgard. Hornsh¸jparken 79, DK-7500 Holstebro, Denmark; e-mail:
leth.damgaard@gmail.com
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.
MATERIALS AND METHODS
The beetle is preserved inside a spherical piece
of amber having a diameter of 11 mm. On both
38
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).
SYSTEMATIC PART
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,
1880.
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
side.
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.
Description
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
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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,
transverse.
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
pronotum.
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
shortened.
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.
Etymology
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.
DISCUSSION
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
42
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,
1962).
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
extinction.
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).
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www.cerambycidae.org
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