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ARS Home » Northeast Area » Beltsville, Maryland (BARC) » Beltsville Agricultural Research Center » Systematic Entomology Laboratory » Research » Publications at this Location » Publication #351009

Research Project: Systematics of Moths Significant to Biodiversity, Quarantine, and Control, with a Focus on Invasive Species

Location: Systematic Entomology Laboratory

Title: Reassessment of known fossil Pyraloidea (Lepidoptera) with description of the oldest fossil pyraloid and of a crambid larva in Baltic amber

Author
item Heikkila, M. - University Of Helsinki
item Simonsen, T. - Natural History Museum Of Denmark
item Solis, M

Submitted to: Zootaxa
Publication Type: Peer Reviewed Journal
Publication Acceptance Date: 4/17/2018
Publication Date: 9/20/2018
Citation: Heikkila, M., Simonsen, T.J., Solis, M.A. 2018. Reassessment of known fossil Pyraloidea (Lepidoptera) with description of the oldest fossil pyraloid and of a crambid larva in Baltic amber. Zootaxa. 4483(1):101-127.

Interpretive Summary: The Pyraloidea or snout moths is one of the largest, ecologically and economically most significant, extant superfamilies of moths. Only eleven fossils have been proposed to belong to this superfamily, and of these only three are confirmed in this study to show morphological characters supporting placement in this superfamily. These fossils include a crambid larva in Baltic Amber, the oldest known fossil pyraloid, and a third is shown to be an inclusion in copal, a tree resin of Quaternary origin, and not in Baltic Amber as had been reported. We discuss the contribution of the authoritatively identified fossils towards understanding the evolutionary history of Pyraloidea. This work will be of interest to evolutionary biologists and paleontologists who use fossils as a molecular clock for estimates of divergence among different lineages of organisms.

Technical Abstract: The identifications of known fossils currently placed in the lepidopteran superfamily Pyraloidea are critically re-examined. Of the eleven fossils examined, only three are confirmed to show morphological characters supporting placement in the superfamily. These fossils include a crambid larva in Baltic Amber, Baltianania yantarnia, Solis gen. and sp. n. and the oldest known fossil pyraloid, Eopyralis morsae Simonsen, gen. and sp. n. The third fossil, Glendotricha olgae Kusnezov, 1941, displays apomorphic characters diagnostic of Pyraloidea, but is shown to be an inclusion in copal and not in Baltic Amber as had been reported. Seven fossil specimens: Pyralites obscurus Heer, 1856; Pyralites preecei Jarzembowski, 1980; Petisca dryellina Martins-Neto, 1998; three fossil larvae tentatively identified as Pyralidae by Zeuner (1931); and Gallerites keleri Kernbach, 1967, lack reliable characters and cannot be assigned to Pyraloidea with certainty. A possible fossil pyraloid in Mizunami Amber could not be located in museum collections and available literature does not provide details to assess the validity of the identification. We discuss the contribution of the authoritatively identified fossils towards understanding the evolutionary history of Pyraloidea.