Diverse transitional giant fleas from the Mesozoic era of China

  title={Diverse transitional giant fleas from the Mesozoic era of China},
  author={Diying Huang and Michael S. Engel and Chenyang Cai and Hao Wu and Andr{\'e} Nel},
Fleas are one of the major lineages of ectoparasitic insects and are now highly specialized for feeding on the blood of birds or mammals. This has isolated them among holometabolan insect orders, although they derive from the Antliophora (scorpionflies and true flies). Like most ectoparasitic lineages, their fossil record is meagre and confined to Cenozoic-era representatives of modern families, so that we lack evidence of the origins of fleas in the Mesozoic era. The origins of the first… 
The diversity and host associations of Mesozoic giant fleas
The co-evolution of parasites and their hosts is one of the most interesting scientific fields within animal evolution. However, the fossil record of parasites is extremely poor because of their
Mesozoic giant fleas from northeastern China (Siphonaptera): Taxonomy and implications for palaeodiversity
The basal morphological disparities of Siphonaptera in the Mesozoic are evidenced by the occurrence of at least three distinct groups (pseudopulicids, tarwiniids, and saurophthirids).
A new Early Cretaceous flea from China
Fleas are highly specialized holometabolic insects. So far, only 16 species of fossil fleas in five families have been reported due to the rare fossil records. At present, the earliest flea fossils
Fleas (Siphonaptera) are Cretaceous, and Evolved with Theria
A molecular phylogenetic study based on a comprehensive taxon sampling of 259 flea taxa, suggesting that Theria (placental mammals and marsupials) represent the most likely ancestral host group of extant Siphonaptera, with marsupial occupying a more important role than previously assumed.
Fleas (Siphonaptera) are Cretaceous, and evolved with Theria.
Amphibious flies and paedomorphism in the Jurassic period
It is concluded that strashilids are highly specialized flies (Diptera) bearing large membranous wings, with substantial sexual dimorphism of the hind legs and abdominal extensions, and the idea that they belong to an extinct order is unsupported and the lineage can be placed within the true flies.
New insects feeding on dinosaur feathers in mid-Cretaceous amber
A new family of ectoparasitic insects is described from 10 specimens found associated with feathers in mid-Cretaceous amber, demonstrating that feather-feeding behaviors of insects originated at least in mid the Cretaceous, accompanying the radiation of feathered dinosaurs including early birds.
Extreme adaptations for aquatic ectoparasitism in a Jurassic fly larva
A bizarre fly larva (Diptera), Qiyia jurassica gen. nov., from the Jurassic of China, that represents a stem group of the tabanomorph family Athericidae, reveals an extreme morphological specialization of fly larvae, and broadens the understanding of the diversity of ectoparasitism in Mesozoic insects.


A molecular phylogeny of fleas (Insecta: Siphonaptera): origins and host associations
This analysis supports Tungidae as the most basal flea lineage, sister group to the remainder of the extant fleas, and the first formal analysis of flea relationships based on a molecular matrix of four loci for 128 flea taxa from around the world.
A Probable Pollination Mode Before Angiosperms: Eurasian, Long-Proboscid Scorpionflies
The presence of scorpionfly taxa suggests that siphonate proboscides fed on gymnosperm pollination drops and likely engaged in pollination mutualisms with gymnosperms during the mid-Mesozoic, long before the similar and independent coevolution of nectar-feeding flies, moths, and beetles on angiosperms.
The thoracic morphology of Nannochorista (Nannochoristidae) and its implications for the phylogeny of Mecoptera and Antliophora
The phylogenetic reconstruction using thoracic features alone is clearly impeded by far reaching modifications in Diptera in correlation with an advanced type of anteromotorism, and complex suites of reductional features in the secondary wingless forms.
Mandibulate chironomids: primitive or derived? (Diptera: Chironomidae)
Mandibulate functional mouthparts are reported in males and females of the two Early Cretaceous Chironomidae (Diptera) and in the recent Podonominae genera Archaeochlus and Austrochlus, which could correspond to reversals based on a parsimony argument after the current chironomid phylogeny.
Convergent dental adaptations in pseudo-tribosphenic and tribosphenic mammals
The find reveals a much greater range of dental evolution in Mesozoic mammals than in their extant descendants, and strengthens the hypothesis of homoplasy of ‘tribosphenic-like’ molars among mammals.
Diversity of feeding strategies in adult Mecoptera
The diet and feeding behaviour of adult scorpionflies in the nine extant families are reviewed, whereby the male provides the female with a food item as a prelude to or during courtship, and the female feeds on it during copulation.
Mecoptera is paraphyletic: multiple genes and phylogeny of Mecoptera and Siphonaptera
Phylogenetic analyses of DNA sequence data support a paraphyletic Mecoptera with two major lineages: Nannochoristidae + (Siphonaptera + Boreidae) and Meropidae + ((Choristollaidea + Apteropanorpidae) (Panorpidae + Bittacidae))).
Evolution of the insects
Insects, mass extinctions, and the K/T boundary The tertiary Mammalian radiations Pleistocene dispersal and species lifespans Island faunas and the future Glossary References Index.