Friday, 21 July 2017

Parababinskaia elegans: A new species of Babinskaiid Lacewing from the Early Cretaceous Crato Formation of Brazil.

The Babinskaiidae are an extinct family of Lacewings (Neuroptera) best known from the Early Cretaceous Crato Formation of Brazil, as well as from the Zaza Formation of southern Siberia and Burmese Amber deposits from Kachin State, Myanmar. They are small Lacewings, with forewings 9-12.7 mm in length, differentiated from other groups by the venation of their forewings (very few specimens have preserved hindwings).

In a paper published in the journal Cretaceous Research on 15 June 2017, Vladimir Makarkin of the Federal Scientific Center of the East Asia Terrestrial Biodiversity of the Far Eastern Branch of the Russian Academy of Sciences, Sam Heads of the Illinois Natural History Survey at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and Sonja Wedmann of the Messel Research Station of the Senckenberg Research Institute, describe a new species of Babinskaiid Lacewing from the Crato Formation, as part of a wider review of the group.

The new species is named Parababinskaia elegans, where ‘Parababinskaia’ means ‘beside-Babinskaia’ in reference to another genus which it resembles., and ‘elegans’ means ‘elegant’, in reference to the quality of the specimen from which it is described. The species is described from a single specimen from the collection of the Illinois Natural History Survey. This specimen is preserved in a slab of finely laminated limestone, and is almost complete, lacking only the legs and detail of the forewings missing (unusually the hindwings are extremely well preserved). 

Parababinskaia elegans; specimen as preserved (wetted with ethanol). Scale bar represents 2 mm. Jared Thomas in Makarkin et al. (2017).

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