Research ArticlePALEONTOLOGY

Mouthpart homologies and life habits of Mesozoic long-proboscid scorpionflies

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Science Advances  04 Mar 2020:
Vol. 6, no. 10, eaay1259
DOI: 10.1126/sciadv.aay1259


Mesozoic long-proboscid scorpionflies (Mesopsychoidea) provide important clues to ancient plant-pollinator interactions. Among them, the family Aneuretopsychidae is especially important because its mouthparts are vital to deciphering the early evolution of Mesopsychoidea and putatively the origin of fleas (Siphonaptera). However, the identification of mouthpart homologs among Aneuretopsychidae remains controversial because of the lack of three-dimensional anatomical data. Here, we report the first Aneuretopsychidae from Late Cretaceous Burmese amber, which have short maxillary palpi and elongate mouthpart elements consisting of one pair of galeae and one hypopharynx. Their mouthparts are identical to those of Pseudopolycentropodidae (= Dualulidae, new synonym) but are not homologous to those of Siphonaptera. Our phylogenetic analysis provides robust evidence for the debated monophyly of Mesopsychoidea. Our results suggest that the long-proboscid condition has most likely evolved once in Mesopsychoidea, independently from fleas, and further reveal the variety and complexity of mid-Cretaceous pollinating insects.

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