Myrmicine ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Miocene amber of Zhangpu, China - INSU - Institut national des sciences de l'Univers Access content directly
Conference Papers Year : 2019

Myrmicine ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Miocene amber of Zhangpu, China


The middle Miocene (Langhian) Fotan Group of Zhangpu County (Fujian Province, SE China) contains a rich paleoflora including leaves and fruits of dipterocarp trees, reflecting a northern expansion of tropical dipterocarp forests during the mid-Miocene Climatic Optimum. A highly fossiliferous amber of dipterocarp origin also occurs, containing a remarkable ant fauna with more than 1 000 individuals from 9 subfamilies found to date. Myrmicinae are prevalent (65% of the total ants), followed by Dolichoderinae (9%), Ponerinae (8%), and Formicinae (6%). Myrmicines comprise more than 30 extinct species distributed in 17 extant genera, among which Carebara and Pheidole are largely dominant (33% and 28%, respectively). Lophomyrmex, Crematogaster, and Tetramorium are also well represented (ca 7% each), and several occurrences are the first fossil records of extant genera (e.g., Cardiocondyla, Gauromyrmex, Lordomyrma, Meranoplus, Proatta). The specific richness is rather high within most genera, with distinct morphological features reflecting various ecological lifestyles from hypogaeic to arboreal species and supporting the hypothesis of a well-developed mature forest. Some specimens are also fossilized in behavioral position, just as their living relatives, notably the typical repelling posture of the “acrobat ants” Crematogaster with the sting overcoming the mesosoma and suggesting that the ecological behavior is highly conservative through time. Then, the presence of Yunodorylus (Dorylinae) in colonies of Pheidole would suggest a possible association of these genera nesting in soils, which has not been observed among the current species. Overall, the ant fauna of Zhangpu amber is mostly similar to the present-day fauna that is found in tropical rainforests from SE Asia and eastern Australia, particularly the dipterocarp forests of Borneo, Philippines or Malaysia. Our findings highlight a closely related geographical distribution of some Australasian ant genera and dipterocarp forest ecosystems


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insu-02111477 , version 1 (26-04-2019)


  • HAL Id : insu-02111477 , version 1


Cédric Chény, Bo Wang, Vincent Perrichot. Myrmicine ants (Hymenoptera: Formicidae) in Miocene amber of Zhangpu, China. 8th International Conference on Fossil Insects, Arthropods & Amber, Apr 2019, Saint Domingue, Dominica. pp.29. ⟨insu-02111477⟩
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