Mantispidae (Neuroptera) and mantispid-like neuropterans from the Mesozoic

Publication Type:Conference Paper
Year of Publication:2016
Authors:J. E. Jepson, OHL M.
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

It has been suggested that Mantispidae first evolved in Asia or Europe at the beginning of the Jurassic, or potentially earlier in the latest Triassic. There have been nine genera and 11 species of mantispid described from the Mesozoic. The first known species of Mantispidae in the fossil record is from the Lower Jurassic of Dobbertin, Germany. Other Jurassic mantispids are known from Daohugou, China, and Karatau, Kazakhstan. The Cretaceous has yielded one species of mantispid from the Lower Cretaceous of Baissa, Siberia, and three from the Yixian Formation, China. In the Upper Cretaceous, two species have been recorded from Kazakhstan and Burmese amber. The majority of taxa have been placed within the extinct subfamily Mesomantispinae, with the exceptions of Liassochrysa and Promantispa that have been placed in the extant subfamily Drepanicinae, and Doratomantispa that is considered as Mantispidae incertae sedis. New specimens have also been discovered, which are awaiting description. The aforementioned fossils are considered to be true mantispids, displaying diagnostic characters, both from wing venation and body morphology, which give strong evidence for their affinity. In addition to these, there are some Mesozoic fossils that show similar characters to Mantispidae, in their wing venation and body morphology, for example, the presence of raptorial forelegs, these have often been described or identified as Mantispidae. These mantispid-like fossils can usually be separated into two subfamilies that are currently placed in Berothidae: Mesithoninae and Paraberothinae. Mesithoninae species are found in the Jurassic of Asia, and the species of Paraberothinae are found exclusively in amber from the Cretaceous of Lebanon, Burma, France, New Jersey (USA) and Canada. Why are these taxa often identified as Mantispidae? How do these subfamilies differ from Mantispidae? Are these differences enough to confidently exclude them from Mantispidae? Answers to these questions will be discussed, as well as a review of the Mesozoic fossil record of Mantispidae.

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