Saturday, 29 July 2017

Electraesalopsis beuteli: A new species of Stag Beetle from Cretaceous Burmese Amber.

Stag Beetles, Lucanidae, are highly specialised Scarab Beetles distinguished by the large 'antlers' (actually highly modified mandibles) of the males. These antlers are used in fights between the males, in which they try to force one another from favourable spots for attracting females (typically high points on sticks or similar). About 1300 extant species of Stag Beetles are known, split into four subfamilies, plus about 25 fossil species, the oldest of which comes from the Middle Jurassic Daohugou deposits of Inner Mongolia. ome of these fossil species are placed in modern subfamilies, and others into three additional extinct subfamilies.

In a paper published in the journal Zoological Systematics on 21 July 2017, Tengfei Qiu of the Key Laboratory of Zoological Systematics and Application at Hebei University and the Key Laboratory of Zoological Systematics and Evolution of the Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yuanyuan Lu, also of the Key Laboratory of Zoological Systematics and Evolution of the Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Weiwei Zhang, of the Three Gorges Entomological Museum, Shuo Wang, again of the Key Laboratory of Zoological Systematics and Evolution of the Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, Yuxia Yang, also of the Key Laboratory of Zoological Systematics and Application at Hebei University, and Ming Bai, once again of the Key Laboratory of Zoological Systematics and Evolution of the Institute of Zoology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences, describe a new species of Stag Beetle from Cretaceous Burmese Amber.

The new species is named Electraesalopsis beuteli, where 'Electra' is Latin for 'amber', 'aesalopsis' means 'similar to Aesalus' (a modern genus of Stag Beetles), and 'beuteli' honours Rolf Beutel of Friedrich Schiller University Jena, for his contributions to entomology.The species is described from a single specimen from a piece of amber from a mine at Noije Bum, near Tanai Village in the Hukawng Valley of  Kachin State in northern Myanmar, dated as 98.8 million years old by uranium-lead dating of zircons from volcanic ash in the matrix from which the amber is extracted. The specimen is oval, 5.6 mm in length and reddish brown in colour. It lacks the large antlers typical of male Stag Beetles, but cannot be confidently described as male as some species of Stag Beetle lack these antlers, and this is the only specimen of this species known.

Electraesalopsis beuteli, complete view of the amber piece. Scale bar is 5.0mm. Qiu et al. (2017).

See also...

http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/08/ceratocaryum-argenteum-plant-producing.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2016/04/onthophagus-clavijeroi-onthophagus.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2015/05/ateuchus-cujuchi-new-species-of-scarab.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2014/09/a-new-species-of-scarab-beetle-from.html
http://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2014/08/a-new-species-of-scarab-beetle-from.htmlhttp://sciencythoughts.blogspot.co.uk/2013/10/a-new-species-of-scavenger-scarab.html
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