Saturday 7 September 2013

A Caddisfly from the Middle Jurassic of Inner Mongolia.

Caddisflies (Trichoptera) are a widespread and numerous (over 12 000 described species) group of Insects closely related to the Lepidoptera (Butterflies and Moths). Like Butterflies and Moths, Caddisflies undergo a complete metamorphosis upon reaching maturity, with a long-lived caterpillar-like larvae, and a shorter-lived flying adult stages (which typically lives one-to-two weeks). However, unlike the larvae of Butterflies and Moths, Caddisfly larvae are entirely aquatic, with only the winged adults emerging above the water surface. Most larval Caddisfly inhabit cases which they make out of silk, which some species are noted for covering with small stones, pieces of plant matter, shells or other matter they find in their environment. The larvae may be herbivorous or carnivorous, adult Caddisfly generally do not eat at all. They have a fossil record dating back to the Triassic.

In a paper published in the journal Fossil Record on 20 February 2013, Yan Gao, Yunzhi Yao and Dong Ren of the Key Lab of Insect Evolution and Environmental Changes at Capital Normal University in Beijing, describe a new species of Caddisfly from the Middle Jurassic Jiulongshan Formation at Daohugou Village in Inner Mongolia.

The new species is named Pulchercylindratus punctatus, where 'Pulchercylindratus' means 'beautiful cylinder' and 'punctatus' means spotted. The species is described from three specimens, a complete male and two partial fossils of indeterminate sex. The complete specimen is 10.47 mm in length.

Pulchercylindratus punctatus, photograph (top) and line drawing (bottom). Gao et al. (2013).

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