Palaeobiology of beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera) from western European Cretaceous ambers

Publication Type:Conference Paper
Year of Publication:2016
Authors:Peris, D, Ruzzier, E, Perrichot, V, PeÑAlver, E, Delclós, X
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 whole assemblage of beetles in the Cretaceous ambers of Western Europe (Spain and France) is surveyed for the first time. Spanish amber (upper Albian) has 149 specimens of 30 families, while French amber (upper Albian–Santonian) has 65 specimens of 16 families. Only five families are shared by both ambers, thus totalling 41 different families identified, mainly of Polyphaga. This low number of shared families is surprising considering the temporal and palaeogeographic proximity of both areas. Thirteen of the families have their oldest known representatives in these ambers; in some cases they represent the only record for the entire Mesozoic, or even the entire fossil record. Based on the ecology of modern taxa, most of the families identified are saproxylic or detritivorous; wood borers are almost absent. Therefore, beetle attacks could not have influenced the release of large amounts of resin in these Cretaceous forests of gymnosperms; this release was influenced by other causes such as wildfires, storms or some other biological effect. Some beetle families identified in these ambers may act today as pollinators of angiosperm flowers. The study of these groups of beetles may help us understand insect–flowering plant coevolution.

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