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      New data from the Middle Jurassic of China shed light on the phylogeny and origin of the proboscis in the Mesopsychidae (Insecta: Mecoptera)


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          The Mesopsychidae is an extinct family of Mecoptera, comprising eleven described genera from Upper Permian to Lower Cretaceous deposits. In 2009, several well-preserved mesopsychids with long proboscides were reported from the mid Mesozoic of Northeastern China, suggesting the presence of pollination mutualisms with gymnosperm plants and highlighting their elevated genus-level diversity. Since that time, additional mesopsychid taxa have been described. However, the phylogeny of genera within Mesopsychidae has not been studied formally, attributable to the limited number of well-preserved fossils.


          Here, we describe two new species, Lichnomesopsyche prochorista sp. nov. and Vitimopsyche pristina sp. nov. and revise the diagnosis of Lichnomesopsyche daohugouensis Ren, Labandeira and Shih, 2010, based on ten specimens from the latest Middle Jurassic Jiulongshan Formation of Inner Mongolia, China. After compiling data from these new fossil species and previously reported representative taxa, we conducted phylogenetic analyses and geometric morphometric studies that now shed light on the taxonomy and phylogeny of Mesopsychidae. We also evaluate the recurring origin of the siphonate proboscis in the Mecoptera and propose an evolutionary developmental model for its multiple origins.


          Phylogenetic and geometric morphometric results confirm the establishment of two new species, each to Lichnomesopsyche and Vitimopsyche. Vitimopsyche pristina sp. nov. extends the existence of the genus Vitimopsyche Novokshonov and Sukacheva, 2001, from the mid Lower Cretaceous to the latest Middle Jurassic. Two methods of analyses indicate an affiliation of Mesopsyche dobrokhotovae Novokshonov, 1997 with Permopsyche Bashkuev, 2011. A phylogenetic analysis of the Mesopsychidae supports: 1), Mesopsychidae as a monophyletic group; 2), Mesopsyche as a paraphyletic group, to be revised pending future examination of additional material; and 3), the independent origin of the proboscis in the Pseudopolycentropodidae, its subsequent loss in earliest Mesopsychidae such as Epicharmesopsyche, its re-origination in the common ancestor (or perhaps independently) in the Vitimopsyche and Lichnomesopsyche clades of the Mesopsychidae. The third conclusion indicates that the proboscis originated four or five times within early Mecoptera, whose origin is explained by an evolutionary developmental model.

          Electronic supplementary material

          The online version of this article (doi:10.1186/s12862-015-0575-y) contains supplementary material, which is available to authorized users.

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          Most cited references58

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          Morphometric tools for landmark data: Geometry and biology

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            Feeding mechanisms of adult Lepidoptera: structure, function, and evolution of the mouthparts.

            H Krenn (2009)
            The form and function of the mouthparts in adult Lepidoptera and their feeding behavior are reviewed from evolutionary and ecological points of view. The formation of the suctorial proboscis encompasses a fluid-tight food tube, special linking structures, modified sensory equipment, and novel intrinsic musculature. The evolution of these functionally important traits can be reconstructed within the Lepidoptera. The proboscis movements are explained by a hydraulic mechanism for uncoiling, whereas recoiling is governed by the intrinsic proboscis musculature and the cuticular elasticity. Fluid uptake is accomplished by the action of the cranial sucking pump, which enables uptake of a wide range of fluid quantities from different food sources. Nectar-feeding species exhibit stereotypical proboscis movements during flower handling. Behavioral modifications and derived proboscis morphology are often associated with specialized feeding preferences or an obligatory switch to alternative food sources.
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              Cretaceous age for the feathered dinosaurs of Liaoning, China


                Author and article information

                BMC Evol Biol
                BMC Evol. Biol
                BMC Evolutionary Biology
                BioMed Central (London )
                4 January 2016
                4 January 2016
                : 16
                : 1
                [ ]College of Life Sciences, Capital Normal University, Beijing, China
                [ ]Union County Magnet High School, Scotch Plains, NJ 07076 USA
                [ ]Department of Paleobiology, National Museum of Natural History, Smithsonian Institution, Washington, DC, 20013 USA
                [ ]Department of Entomology and BEES Program, University of Maryland, College Park, MD 20742 USA
                © Lin et al. 2015

                Open AccessThis article is distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons license, and indicate if changes were made. The Creative Commons Public Domain Dedication waiver ( http://creativecommons.org/publicdomain/zero/1.0/) applies to the data made available in this article, unless otherwise stated.

                : 27 November 2015
                : 19 December 2015
                Funded by: National Basic Research Program of China (973 Program)
                Award ID: 2012CB821906
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: FundRef http://dx.doi.org/10.13039/501100001809, National Natural Science Foundation of China (CN);
                Award ID: 1230065, 41272006
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: reat Wall Scholar and KEY project of the Beijing Municipal Commission of Education
                Award ID: KZ201310028033
                Award Recipient :
                Funded by: Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University
                Award ID: IRT13081
                Award Recipient :
                Research Article
                Custom metadata
                © The Author(s) 2016

                Evolutionary Biology
                evolutionary developmental model,fossil insects,inner mongolia,mesozoic,morphological characteristics,scorpionfly


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