Dominican amber net-winged beetles suggest stable paleoenvironment as a driver for conserved morphology in a paedomorphic lineage

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Paedomorphosis is a heterochronic syndrome in which adult individuals display features of their immature forms. In beetles, this phenomenon occurs widely in the superfamily Elateroidea, including the net-winged beetles (Lycidae), and, due to the usual flightlessness of paedomorphic females, it is hypothesized to cause speciation rates higher than in non-paedomorphic lineages. However, some fossils of paedomorphic lycids do not support this with palaeobiological data. Discovery of new Lycidae fossils attributed to the West Indian extant paedomorphic genus Cessator Kazantsev in the Dominican amber also suggests morphological stasis within this genus in the Greater Antilles. We describe Cessator anachronicus Ferreira and Ivie, sp. nov. based on adult males, as well as the first ever recorded fossil net-winged beetle larva of the same genus. We propose that the relatively young age of the studied fossils combined with the stable conditions in the forest floor of the Greater Antilles through the last tens of million years could explain the exceptionally conserved morphology in the net-winged beetles affected by the paedomorphic syndrome.

Original languageEnglish
Article number5820
JournalScientific Reports
Volume12
Number of pages9
ISSN2045-2322
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 2022

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 101018841 (postdoctoral fellowship of Vinicius S. Ferreira). Authors are grateful to David Grimaldi (AMNH) for sending the specimens for this study and to Polyxeni-Eleni Koutra (University of Athens) for her assistance with the name formation of the new species here described. We are very grateful to Carlos de Soto Molinari, Marcus F.C. Ng. and Amila Sumanapala for allowing the use of their photographs in Fig. . This is a contribution of the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station.

Funding Information:
This project has received funding from the European Union?s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under the Marie Sklodowska-Curie grant agreement No. 101018841 (postdoctoral fellowship of Vinicius S. Ferreira). Authors are grateful to David Grimaldi (AMNH) for sending the specimens for this study and to Polyxeni-Eleni Koutra (University of Athens) for her assistance with the name formation of the new species here described. We are very grateful to Carlos de Soto Molinari, Marcus F.C. Ng. and Amila Sumanapala for allowing the use of their photographs in Fig. 1. This is a contribution of the Montana Agricultural Experiment Station.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022, The Author(s).

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