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Review of 'On the identity of the fossil aquatic beetles from the Tertiary localities in the southern part of the Upper Rhine Graben (Coleoptera, Hydrophilidae, Dytiscidae)'

The authors deal with previously described and misinterpreted fossils with obvious competence.
Average rating:
    Rated 4.5 of 5.
Level of importance:
    Rated 3 of 5.
Level of validity:
    Rated 5 of 5.
Level of completeness:
    Rated 5 of 5.
Level of comprehensibility:
    Rated 4 of 5.
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Reviewed article

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On the identity of the fossil aquatic beetles from the Tertiary localities in the southern part of the Upper Rhine Graben (Coleoptera, Hydrophilidae, Dytiscidae)

Abstract This study focuses on the fossil beetles assigned previously to the family Hydrophilidae described from the localities in the southern part of the Upper Rhine Graben: Brunstatt (France, Alsace) and Kleinkems (Germany, Baden-Württemberg) (both dated ca. to Eocene-Oligocene boundary, 34 Ma). The identity of Escheria convexa Förster, 1891 is fixed by the designation of its neotype, the species is redescribed, illustrated, transferred from the hydrophilid genus Hydrobius Leach, 1815 to the genus Copelatus Erichson, 1832 (Coleoptera: Adephaga: Dytiscidae) and compared with other fossil representatives of Copelatus. The identity of the remaining three species, Hydrobius crassipunctatus (Förster, 1891), Hydrobius dimidiatus (Förster, 1891) and Hydrobius punctulatus (Förster, 1891),is briefly evaluated on the basis of the original descriptions and illustrations only, because their types were lost or destroyed during World War II; all three species are removed from the fossil record of the Hydrophiloidea and placed into Polyphaga incertae sedis. The geology and stratigraphy of Brunnstatt and Kleinkems are discussed briefly.

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    At first sight this may not appear like a very exciting study. However, it is obviously important for those working with fossil beetles and the insect fauna of this period. The authors provide new and very good photos of the fossils and clear line drawings.

    Based on the observations one of the species is correctly assigned to Dytiscidae and the genus Copelatus. I also agree with the treatment of the others as Polyphaga incertae sedis. The authors point out correctly that a placement in Hydrophilidae is not sufficiently supported.

    The language could be more elegant but is clear enough for a scientific study in insect palaeontology.


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