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The decline of silky lacewings and morphological diversity of long-nosed antlion larvae through time

Abstract : Psychopsidae (silky lacewings) is a species-poor ingroup of Neuroptera. Silky lacewings show a distinct relic distribution, indicating that the group was more species-rich and diverse in the past. Silky lacewings have distinct larvae that resemble antlion larvae but differ from these in lacking teeth on their mouth parts, and in having a projecting labrum, which makes them “long-nosed antlion larvae”. These larvae are well known from Myanmar amber (about 100 mya) and Baltic amber (mostly 34-38 mya, possibly 23-48 mya), as well as from the extant fauna. We report and figure numerous additional specimens from both amber types and from ca. 100 mya old French Charentese amber, expanding the known record of well-illustrated extant and fossil specimens from 26 to 52 specimens. We compare the diversity of head shape among these larvae through time by outline analysis. Results indicate that morphological diversity was pronouncedly higher in the Cretaceous, even after sample size correction. Eocene representatives are more diverse than modern representatives, but less diverse than Cretaceous ones, in one shape aspect that explains most of the overall variation (55.7%). Eocene representatives are less diverse in another shape aspect that explains the second-most variation (26.9%), but this might reflect a lack of first larval stage specimens. There seems to be no strong correlation between size and shape. This type of analysis enables a test for the loss of diversity over time, based on morphological diversity as a proxy, without the requirement of identifying fossil larvae down to a narrow taxonomical range.
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Contributor : Laurent Jonchère Connect in order to contact the contributor
Submitted on : Tuesday, September 29, 2020 - 9:51:25 AM
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Gideon Haug, Carolin Haug, Paula Pazinato, Florian Braig, Vincent Perrichot, et al.. The decline of silky lacewings and morphological diversity of long-nosed antlion larvae through time. Palaeontologia Electronica, Coquina Press, 2020, 23 (2), pp.a39. ⟨10.26879/1029⟩. ⟨insu-02916824⟩



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