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Emergence of a superradiation: pselaphine rove beetles in mid-Cretaceous amber from Myanmar and their evolutionary implications

Parker, Joseph (2016) Emergence of a superradiation: pselaphine rove beetles in mid-Cretaceous amber from Myanmar and their evolutionary implications. Systematic Entomology, 41 (3). pp. 541-566. ISSN 0307-6970.

[img] PDF (Figure S1. Supporting analyses for the phylogenetic placement of new Burmese amber pselaphines) - Supplemental Material
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[img] MS Excel (Table S1. Taxon inventory for phylogenetic analysis, with Genbank accession IDs) - Supplemental Material
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[img] Video (QuickTime) (Video S1. Two Plagiophorus (Pselaphinae: Cyathigerini) beetles attacked by the ant Pachycondyla javana. The heavy integument, combined with retraction of the appendages, protects the pselaphines from damage inflicted by the ant's large mandibles) - Supplemental Material
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Pselaphinae is an exceptionally species-rich, globally distributed subfamily of minute rove beetles (Staphylinidae), many of which are inquilines of social insects. Deducing the factors that drove pselaphine diversification and their evolutionary predisposition to inquilinism requires a reliable timescale of pselaphine cladogenesis. Pselaphinae is split into a small and highly plesiomorphic supertribe, Faronitae, and its sister group, the ‘higher Pselaphinae’ – a vast multi-tribe clade with a more derived morphological ground plan, and which includes all known instances of inquilinism. The higher Pselaphinae is dominated by tribes with a Gondwanan taxonomic bias. However, a minority of tribes are limited to the Nearctic and Palearctic ecozones, implying a potentially older, Pangaean origin of the higher Pselaphinae as a whole. Here, I describe fossils from mid-Cretaceous (∼99 million years old) Burmese amber that confirm the existence of crown-group higher pselaphines on the Eurasian supercontinent prior to contact with Gondwanan landmasses. Protrichonyx rafifrons gen. et sp.n. is placed incertae sedis within the higher Pselaphinae. Boreotethys gen.n., erected for B. grimaldii sp.n. and B. arctopteryx sp.n., represents an extinct sister taxon and putative stem group of Bythinini, a Recent tribe with a primarily Holarctic distribution. The Laurasian palaeolocality of the newly described taxa implies that higher pselaphines are indeed probably of Jurassic, Pangaean extraction and that the Laurasian-Gondwanan tribal dichotomy of this clade may have developed vicariantly following Pangaean rifting. Higher pselaphines probably predate the earliest ants. Their physically protective morphological ground plan may have been a preadaptation for myrmecophily when ants became diverse and ecologically ubiquitous, much later in the Cenozoic.

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Additional Information:© 2016 The Royal Entomological Society. Accepted 4 January 2016. I thank David Grimaldi (AMNH) for preparing and making available the amber pselaphines described in this study, David Peris (Universitat de Barcelona) for providing the Penarhytus holotype for my observation, and David Holloway (Museum Victoria, Melbourne) and Peter Jell (University of Queensland) for, respectively, producing new images of the Koonwarra compression fossil, and literature and discussion relating to this specimen. Alfred Newton (Field Museum, Chicago) kindly accessed his database to give an up-to-date figure of the exact number of described species of Pselaphinae. I am grateful to Rostislav Bekchiev, Chris Carlton, Michael Caterino, Donald Chandler, Darren Mann, Alfred Newton Shuhei Nomura and Margaret Thayer for contributing specimens. Chris Carlton (Louisiana State University), Taro Eldredge (Univ. Kansas) and David Grimaldi provided important comments on the manuscript. The author declares no conflict of interest.
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20180112-141850350
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Official Citation:PARKER, J. (2016), Emergence of a superradiation: pselaphine rove beetles in mid-Cretaceous amber from Myanmar and their evolutionary implications. Systematic Entomology, 41: 541–566. doi: 10.1111/syen.12173
Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:84313
Deposited By: George Porter
Deposited On:16 Jan 2018 16:52
Last Modified:16 Jan 2018 16:52

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