Friday 31 May 2013

A new species of Bumble Bee Scarab Beetle from the Early Cretaceous of Inner Mongolia.

Bumble Bee Scarab Beetles (Glaphyridae) are small, brightly coloured Scarab Beetles; they are active animals, and frequently resemble Bumble Bees when in flight. There are eight extant genera in the family, two of which have fossil records. Another two genera are known from the fossil record only. The fossil record of the family dates back to the Early Cretaceous.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 14 November 2012, Zhuo Yan of the Key Laboratory of Insect Evolution and Environmental Changes at the College of Life Sciences at Capital Normal University in Beijing, Georgiy Nikolajev of the Department of Biology and Biotechnology at the Al-Farabi Kazakh National University and Dong Ren, also of the Key Laboratory of Insect Evolution and Environmental Changes, describe a new species of Bumble Bee Scarab Beetle from the Early Cretaceous Yixian Formation at Liutiaogou Village in Ningcheng County, Inner Mongolia.

The new species is considered to be distinctive enough to be placed in a new genus, named Cretohypna, meaning Anthypna, from the Cretaceous; Anthypna being  a modern genus of Glaphyrid Beetle. It is given the specific name Cretohypna cristata, where 'cristata' means crested, a reference to a crest-like structure on the head. The species is described from a single male specimen. Cretohypna cristata is a 16.1 mm Beetle with an elongate oval body. 

Cretohypna cristata; (a) protibia, (b) mesotibia, (c) body in dorsal view, (d) metatibia and metatarsus. Yan, Nikolajev & Ren (2012).

Cretohypna cristataline drawings of holotype in (a) dorsal view, and (b) ventral view. Yan, Nikolajev & Ren (2012).

The Yixian Formation is probably 129.7-122.1 million years old, making it from the Barremian to early Aptian Age. The deposits are mainly lacustrine (from a lake) with occasional horizons of volcanic ash. The climate at the time of deposition interpreted as cool temperate, with mean air temperatures of 10 ± 4 °C. The formation is noted for its numerous fossil insects.

The approximate location of the site where Cretohypna cristata was found. Google Maps.

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