Diverse transitional giant fleas from the Mesozoic era of China

@article{Huang2012DiverseTG,
  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},
  journal={Nature},
  year={2012},
  volume={483},
  pages={201-204}
}
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

TLDR
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

TLDR
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.

The first flea with fully distended abdomen from the Early Cretaceous of China

TLDR
The female specimen with extremely distended abdomen suggests that it might have consumed its last meal before its demise, and new findings further support that fleas had evolved a broad diversity by the Early Cretaceous.

Amphibious flies and paedomorphism in the Jurassic period

TLDR
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.

Fleas are parasitic scorpionflies

TLDR
Competing hypotheses on the contentious evolutionary relationships of fleas and antliophoran insects are tested using the largest molecular dataset available to date consisting of over 1,400 protein-coding genes, and a smaller mitogenome and Sanger sequence alignment of 16 genes.

New insects feeding on dinosaur feathers in mid-Cretaceous amber

TLDR
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.
...

References

SHOWING 1-10 OF 23 REFERENCES

A molecular phylogeny of fleas (Insecta: Siphonaptera): origins and host associations

TLDR
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 bizarre Jurassic maniraptoran from China with elongate ribbon-like feathers

TLDR
This finding shows that a member of the avialan lineage experimented with integumentary ornamentation as early as the Middle to Late Jurassic, and provides further evidence relating to this aspect of the transition from non-avian theropods to birds.

A Mesozoic gliding mammal from northeastern China

TLDR
A new Mesozoic mammal from Inner Mongolia, China, is reported that represents a previously unknown group characterized by a highly specialized insectivorous dentition and a sizable patagium (flying membrane) for gliding flight.

Head morphology of Caurinus (Boreidae, Mecoptera) and its phylogenetic implications.

A Probable Pollination Mode Before Angiosperms: Eurasian, Long-Proboscid Scorpionflies

TLDR
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.

Mandibulate chironomids: primitive or derived? (Diptera: Chironomidae)

TLDR
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.

A longstanding entomological problem finally solved? Head morphology of Nannochorista (Mecoptera, Insecta) and possible phylogenetic implications

TLDR
The structure of the mouthparts indicates that adults of Nannochorista feed on fluids, and the loss of the mandibular muscles and the precerebral pharyngeal dilators are presumptive autapomorphies of the genus.

The adult head structures of Tipulomorpha (Diptera, Insecta) and their phylogenetic implications

Schneeberg, K. and Beutel, R.G. 2011. The adult head structures of Tipulomorpha (Diptera, Insecta) and their phylogenetic implications. —Acta Zoologica (Stockholm) 92: 316–343. Head structures

A Jurassic eutherian mammal and divergence of marsupials and placentals

TLDR
This mammal has scansorial forelimb features, and provides the ancestral condition for dental and other anatomical features of eutherians, reducing and resolving a discrepancy between the previous fossil record and the molecular estimate for the placental–marsupial divergence.