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A new beetle family, Mysteriomorphidae fam. nov. (Coleoptera: Elateriformia incertae sedis), from mid-Cretaceous amber of northern Myanmar

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Abstract

A new Cretaceous fossil beetle Mysteriomorphus pelevini gen. et sp. nov. is described from Burmese amber and a new family Mysteriomorphidae fam. nov. is proposed to accommodate this new taxon. The new monogeneric family is characterised by a combination of characters present in different lineages of Elateroidea and Byrrhoidea (Ptilodactylidae) and is therefore placed as incertae sedis in the series Elateriformia.
482 Accepted by D.-Y. Huang: 10 Oct. 2019; published: 31 Oct. 2019
Palaeoentomology 002 (5): 482–490
https://www.mapress.com/j/pe/
Copyright © 2019 Magnolia Press Article PALAEOENTOMOLOGY
ISSN 2624-2826 (print edition)
ISSN 2624-2834 (online edition) PE
Abstract
A new Cretaceous fossil beetle Mysteriomorphus pelevini
gen. et sp. nov. is described from Burmese amber and a
new family Mysteriomorphidae fam. nov. is proposed
to accommodate this new taxon. The new monogeneric
family is characterised by a combination of characters
present in different lineages of Elateroidea and Byrrhoidea
(Ptilodactylidae) and is therefore placed as incertae sedis in
the series Elateriformia.
Keywords: Polyphaga, burmite, new taxa, palaeontology,
Mesozoic, fossil resin
Introduction
Beetles appear in the Early Permian, Artinskian, 283.5–
290.1 Ma (Kukalová-Peck & Beutel, 2012), and the
modern taxonomical diversity of this most species-
rich metazoan order is the result of its approximately
290-million-year-long evolutionary history. Crown
Coleoptera originated in the earliest Permian or even
earlier, in the Carboniferous (Misof et al., 2014), the
divergence between the beetle series occurred mainly
during the Triassic, with most superfamilies appearing
during the Jurassic, and almost 64% of modern families
appearing in the Cretaceous (Zhang et al., 2018). As such,
the Cretaceous was an important period in shaping the
extreme diversity of beetles.
Cretaceous amber from northern Myanmar (burmite)
contains a rich assemblage of different groups of beetles
and is of the earliest Cenomanian in age (98.79 ± 0.62 Ma
years old) based upon the isotopic U-Pb dating of zircons
in the matrix surrounding the amber (Shi et al., 2012).
Recently, a Late Albian—Early Cenomanian age of this
fossil Lagerstätte has been mentioned based upon the
inclusion of a juvenile ammonite belonging to subgenus
that first appeared in the Upper Albian and ranged through
the Cenomanian (Yu et al., 2019).
Hundreds of papers dealing with different animal
inclusions from burmite have been published in the last
decade. The taxonomic checklist of Burmese amber
organisms (Ross, 2019) includes 206 described beetle
species, but new discoveries since that time have been
published and many other beetles await description. A
number of Mesozoic beetles from the West Burma Block
of a Gondwanan origin (Poinar, 2018) can be assigned to
Recent genera (e.g. Clarke & Chatzimanolis, 2009; Liu
et al., 2015; Cai et al., 2016, 2017; Háva & Damgaard,
2017; Deng et al., 2017; Ellenberger & Fanti 2019; Vitali
& Ellenberger 2019), many taxa represent new genera or
tribes in different extant families (e.g. Legalov & Poinar,
2014; Caterino et al., 2015; Kazantsev, 2015; Poinar et
al., 2016; Jałoszyński et al., 2017; Yamamoto et al., 2017;
Hsiao et al., 2018; Batelka et al., 2018; Fanti et al., 2018;
Legalov, 2018; Tomaszewska et al., 2018), several ones
are assigned to new subfamilies (e.g. Poinar et al., 2017;
Li et al., 2019), but several taxa cannot be unambiguously
placed within any modern family. Two beetle families,
Apotomouridae and Passalopalpidae, are known only
from Burmese amber fossils at present (Boucher et al.,
2016; Bao et al., 2018), but the number of family-level
lineages in Burmese amber that have gone extinct since the
Cretaceous seems to be higher and remains undescribed.
A new genus Mysteriomorphus gen. nov. and
species, M. pelevini sp. nov. are described and figured in
the present paper. These burmite beetles probably belong
to the stem lineage of the series Elateriformia Crowson
1960, showing a combination of characters found in the
superfamilies Elateroidea and Byrrhoidea, as well as
a unique combination of characters, and therefore it is
tentatively described as new family Mysteriomorphidae
fam. nov. and placed as incertae sedis in the series
Elateriformia without a more detailed attribution.
https://doi.org/10.11646/palaeoentomology.2.5.12
http://zoobank.org/urn:lsid:zoobank.org:pub:E9DA7F15-B93E-40EA-9F9B-93A415169868
A new beetle family, Mysteriomorphidae fam. nov. (Coleoptera: Elateriformia
incertae sedis), from mid-Cretaceous amber of northern Myanmar
VITALII I. ALEKSEEV1, 2* & SIEGHARD ELLENBERGER3
1Shirshov Institute of Oceanology, Russian Academy of Sciences, Nahimovskiy prospekt 36, 117997 Moscow, Russia.
2Kaliningrad Regional Amber Museum, Marshal Vasilevskii square 1, Kaliningrad, 236016, Russia.
3Bodelschwinghstraße 13, D-34119 Kassel, Germany.
*Corresponding author. Email: alekseew0802@yahoo.com
ALEKSEEV & ELLENBERGER
488 Palaeoentomology 002 (5) © 2019 Magnolia Press
grooved to receive tibiae. The tibia with one acute and
slender apical spur; tibial spur almost indistinct between
quite long apical setae. Tarsi pentamerous, proportional
lengths of metatarsomeres: 1.2: 0.6: 0.5: 0.6: 0.7;
tarsomere 4 deeply bilobed; flashy pads on tarsomeres
absent. Claws falcate, acute, long and symmetrical.
Abdomen. With five ventrites of almost equal lengths.
Fifth ventrite simple, entire, without emargination
apically.
Discussion
Mysteriomorphidae fam. nov. possesses a mosaic of
characters of two elateriform superfamilies, Elateroidea
and Byrrhoidea, and it is hard to decide to which of these it
is closer. The artificial classification of the new family (1)
including into diverse Ptilodactylidae as a non-specialized
primitive member or (2) including into one of the families
within Elateroidea as an aberrant form with support of
two to three characters is possible but is not considered
to be the best solution for forming of any well-balanced
system. Therefore, the new family is placed in the series
Elateriformia. It is hoped, that the discovery of additional
specimens or the application of ‘virtual palaeontology’
methods (3-D digital visualizations) additional to our
traditional approach may shed light on the adequate
phylogenetic position of Mysteriomorphidae fam. nov.
Further investigations using X-ray micro-computed
tomography (micro-CT) could help to study internal
features in better preserved specimens and may add data
important for understanding the systematic placement of
the taxon. Several “intermediate” or related fossil and
recent taxa can be found in future and shed some light on
the position of this particular fossil. At the moment, we
emphasize the phylogenetic position of Mysteriomorphus
gen. nov. as “an early-branching member of the series
Elateriformia” and the probable independence of this
Cretaceous extinct beetle lineage in the familial rank
of the newly proposed taxon. The verification of the
provided hypothesis and resolving of systematical
position of Mysteriomorphidae fam. nov. is possible by
conducting of comprehensive phylogenetic analysis using
an morphological matrix of extant Elateriformia.
Acknowledgements
Dr. Adam S. Ślipiński, Dr. John F. Lawrence, and
Dr. Hermes E. Escalona (all from CSIRO, Canberra,
Australia), Dr. Robin Kundrata and Dr. Ladislav Bocák
(both Palacký University, Olomouc, Czech Republic),
Fabrizio Fanti (Piazze, Italy), Dr. Manfred A. Jäch
(Vienna Natural History Museum, Wien, Austria), and
Dr. Sergey V. Kazantsev (Insect Centre, Moscow, Russia)
are cordially thanked for their helpful opinions about the
possible placement of the enigmatic beetles described
here. We thank Dr. Chenyang Cai (Nanjing Institute
of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of
Sciences) and one anonymous reviewer for their valuable
suggestions that sufficiently improved the manuscript.
The study of V.I.A. was done with the support of the state
assignment of IO RAS (Theme No.0149–2019–0013).
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... However, Cretopoena clearly differs from Agrypnini by its closed pronotosternal sutures and, therefore, its systematic position should be further investigated. Additionally, the suggested close relationship between Elateridae and recently discovered Mysteriomorphidae from the Cretaceous Burmese amber needs to be investigated using an analytical approach [241,242]. ...
... Last but not least, Elateridae students should pay special attention to the study of fossils included in amber deposits. Although the research of beetles (and other taxa) from various ambers is nowadays very popular [92,188,189,[250][251][252] and scientists were even able to describe within a short time span several new beetle families based on amber material [241,[253][254][255][256][257], the diversity of click-beetles in fossilized plant resins has been highly understudied. A study of the Elateridae diversity in amber is of great importance due to the three-dimensional preservation of specimens which allows us to compare the fossil fauna with extant specimens in much greater detail than in the case of compression fossils [188,229]. ...
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Sparedrus archaicus n. sp. (Coleoptera Oedemeridae) from Cretaceous amber from Myanmar is described and compared with congeners of the Recent.
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A list of all known taxa described or recorded from Burmese amber from the published literature up to the end of 2018 is given, along with a comprehensive bibliography. The history of the study of inclusions is summarised, and demonstrates that the number of species has risen exponentially over the past two decades. The first three species were named in 1916 and by the end of 1920 a total of 42 species had been named by T.D.A. Cockerell. Only three more species were named by 1999 though by the end of 2018 the total had risen to an incredible 1,192 species, of which over half were named in the past three years. Some 320 species were named in 2018, the highest number described from one type of amber in any one year in the entire history of amber studies.
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An auger beetle, Poinarinius burmaensis gen. et sp. nov. of the subfamily Dinoderinae (Bostrichidae) is described from Cretaceous Burmese amber. The new genus differs from other genera of this subfamily by the concave anterior margin of the pronotum, head visible from above and wider than the anterior margin of the pronotum, elongate and widely separated procoxae, antennae with 9 antennomeres, and body covered with long erect setae. It is distinguished from the genus Stephanopachys Waterhouse, 1888 by the transverse antennal club, protibiae with teeth, long tarsomeres 1–3, and elytra with a lobate convexity behind the middle. This is first record of the subfamily Dinoderinae (Bostrichidae) in Burmese amber.
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A diversity of new wedge-shaped beetles (Coleoptera: Ripiphoridae) are described and figured from Burmese amber, representing three new genera and five new species in two subfamilies – Ripidiinae and Pelecotominae. Amberocula gen. nov., is the third genus of Ripidiini documented from the Upper Cretaceous (lowermost Cenomanian) amber of northern Myanmar. Three species are included in the genus: Amberocula muelleri sp. nov. (type species), A. costata sp. nov., and A. fallax sp. nov. Amberocula is represented by six single male inclusions and one quadruple male syninclusion (for A. muelleri). The genus is distinguishable by the combination of number and shape of antennomeres and tarsomeres, reduced mouthparts, and shape of the head, compound eyes, and thorax relative to all extant and fossil members of the tribe Ripidiini. In addition, three single male inclusions and one syninclusion of six males indistinguishable from Paleoripiphorus deploegi Perrichot, Nel, and Néraudeau (Ripidiini) are reported. Described syninclusions of both genera support the previous assumption of aggregative-like behavior of male Ripidiini may be a groundplan feature of the tribe and responsible for the presence of such syninclusions. Two monotypic genera, Plesiotoma alissae gen. et sp. nov. and Burmitoma nalae gen. et sp. nov., are representative of the subfamily Pelecotominae and are also described and figured. The inclusions represent the second and third definitive records for the subfamily in Cretaceous amber, and also the discovery of fossil pelecotomine females. They differ from the contemporaneous Flabellotoma Batelka, Engel, and Prokop in the presence of more complete tibial spur formulas and the absence of a ventral abdominal microsclerite. The presence of three species of Amberocula, additional material of P. deploegi, and two new genera of Pelecotominae demonstrates a surprising abundance of ripiphorids in Cretaceous amber, and we provide comments on the past diversity of this parasitoid family during the period, as well as observations on the nature of their preservation and paleoethology. The known diversity of Mesozoic Tenebrionoidea is cataloged and a key to the Cretaceous diversity of Ripiphoridae is presented.