The significance of fossil material in understanding the homology of Mecoptera wing venation

Publication Type:Conference Paper
Year of Publication:2016
Authors:W. Krzemiński, Soszyńska-Maj, A., Kopeć, K.
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

The order Mecoptera appeared in the Permian, but the Lower Cretaceous witnessed the greatest radiation of scorpionflies. Recently, the majority of scorpionflies have been grouped into two families: Bittacidae and Panorpidae. Seven additional families are species poor and are often represented mainly by relict species, like Austromerope poultoni (Meropeidae) or Notiothauma reedi (Eomeropidae). Mecoptera is a group of a special significance for understanding the evolution and phylogenetic relationships within and among several of the largest and currently most important insect orders, such as Lepidoptera, Trichoptera, Diptera and Siphonaptera. However, the unstable taxonomic system, numerous unsolved phylogenetic problems and unstable wing venation nomenclature of Mecoptera make the understanding of homology of individual veins difficult to interpret, thus hindering discussions on the phylogeny of these insects. Unfortunately, the nomenclature of wing venation (which has never been satisfactory) has become increasingly complicated as a result of successive taxonomists. Following our intensive investigation of fossil evidence, we conclude that the main goals and problems to be solved concerning Mecoptera wing venation nomenclature can be considered as follows:• The homology and nomenclature of veins in costal (C) and subcostal (Sc) sectors. • The nomenclature and homology of the radial sector (Rs), with special attention to its lower branch, which is considered by some researchers as homologous with medial veins. • The nomenclature of medial veins (Ms). • The nomenclature of the basal part venation, so-called vein M5 and route of Cu2. The stabilisation and standarisation of the terminology of veins would, in our opinion, facilitate drawing robust conclusions concerning the evolution and relationships of Mecoptera. In this presentation we try to find answers for at least some of the problems that require clarification.

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