Friday 29 July 2016

Psectrosciara fossilis: A Dung Midge in amber from Chiapas State, Mexico.

Dung Midges, Scatopsidae, are minute True Flies, Diptera with a global distribution. They are a smal group, with about 259 species divided into four subfamilies, which have a very poor fossil record, but which are thought to be very ancient for biogeographical reasons. The Subfamily Psectrosciarinae, for example, is thought to have originated at latest in the Early Jurassic, but to date has yielded not a single fossil anywhere in the world.

In a paper published in the journal Palaeontologica Electronica in July 2016, André Nel and David Coty of the Institut de Systématique,Évolution, Biodiversité at the Muséum national d’Histoirenaturelle describe a Psectrosciarine Dung Midge preserved in amber from the Salt River Mine locality in Chiappas State, Mexico.

The Salt River Mine locality is located on the banks of the Salt River about 70 km southeast of Tuxtla Gutierrez and 1 km north of Totolapa. Amber from this locality has not been accurately dated, but is thought to be between 25 and 15 million years old, making it Late Oligocene to Middle Miocene in age.

The Midge is described as new species, placed in the extant genus Psectrosciara and given the specific name fossilis, indicating that it is the first fossil species in the genus described. The specimen is male, 2.7 mm in length, dark in colour, has ten antennal segments and a wing legth of 1.44 mm.

Psectrosciara fossilisin lateral view. Scale bar is 0.5 mm. Nel & Coty (2016).

See also... Bee Flies from the Dominican Republic and North America.                                     Bee Flies, Bombyliidae, are True Flies, Diptera, specialized for feeding on pollen and nectar, many of which have evolved long proboscises for nectar feeding. Many adult Bee Flies resemble Bees in shape and... of haemoglobin-derived chemicals in a fossil Mosquito from the Eocene of Montana.                                             The 1993 film Jurassic Park speculated that Dinosaur DNA might be extracted from blood preserved inside Mosquitoes, Culcidae, trapped in amber during... Flies from the Middle Jurassic Daohugou Biota of Inner Mongolia.       Protoplecid Flies are a group of True Flies, Diptera, known from Jurassic deposits across Eurasia. They are thought to be ancestral to the modern Bibionidae (March Flies and Love Bugs) and the group...
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