Phylogeny of Mesopsychidae (Mecoptera) and origin of the proboscis in early Mecoptera

Publication Type:Conference Paper
Year of Publication:2016
Authors:X. Lin, Shih, M. J. H., Labandeira, C. C., Ren, D.
Conference Name:The 7th International Conference on Fossil Insects, Arthropods and Amber
Date Published:26/04/2016
Publisher:Siri Scientific Press
Conference Location:National Museum of Scotland, Edinburgh

Within Mecoptera, Mesopsychidae and three other families: Aneuretopsychidae, Pseudopolycentropodidae and Nedubroviidae, form a major clade of basal Mecoptera, the Aneuretopsychina, which have elongate, siphonate proboscides, and likely fed on pollination drops of gymnosperms. Phylogenetic relationships among Mesopsychidae and other mecopteran-related families, including extinct basal panorpoids, extinct basal mecopterans and extant mecopterans have been reported. However, the phylogeny of genera within Mesopsychidae and the origin of the long siphonate proboscis in early Mecoptera have not been studied formally, attributable to the limited number of well preserved fossils. Recently, based on data from two newly erected species and previously described representative species, we selected a suite of unique characters and carried out phylogenetic analyses to shed light on the taxonomy, classification and phylogeny of the genera within Mesopsychidae. We also applied geometric morphometric analyses to supplement the phylogenetic analyses. Four important findings are presented:• Phylogenetic results support that Mesopsychidae is a monophyletic group, and the systematic positions of the two new species are confirmed. • Based on our phylogenetic analyses and geometric morphometric analyses, we suggest to revise the taxonomy of some species of Mesopsyche. • It is suggested that the long-proboscid condition might have independently originated four or five times within the early Mecoptera. • It is hypothesised that repeated rounds of suppression of ext and hth genes could explain initial stages of the proboscis origin among the early Mecoptera. Future discovery of well preserved material and studies and examinations of mouthparts of these fossil specimens will augment our understanding of the origin of early Mecoptera and their siphonate proboscides.

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