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Diversity 2019, 11(1), 1; https://doi.org/10.3390/d11010001

The Weevil Fauna Preserved in Burmese Amber—Snapshot of a Unique, Extinct Lineage (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea)

1
Department of Biological Sciences, University of Memphis, 3700 Walker Ave, Memphis, TN 38152, USA
2
National Computational Infrastructure, Australian National University, 143 Ward Road, Acton, Canberra, A.C.T. 2601, Australia
3
CSIRO, Australian National Insect Collection, G.P.O. Box 1700, Canberra, A.C.T. 2601, Australia
*
Authors to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 15 November 2018 / Revised: 4 December 2018 / Accepted: 10 December 2018 / Published: 20 December 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Systematics and Phylogeny of Weevils)

Abstract

Only a few weevils have been described from Burmese amber, and although most have been misclassified, they show unusual and specialised characters unknown in extant weevils. In this paper, we present the results of a study of a much larger and more diverse selection of Burmese amber weevils. We prepared all amber blocks to maximise visibility of structures and examined these with high-magnification light microscopy as well as CT scanning (selected specimens). We redescribe most previously described taxa and describe 52 new species in 26 new genera, accompanied by photographs. We compare critical characters of these weevils with those of extant taxa and outline the effects of distortion on their preservation and interpretation. We conclude that only two weevil families are thus far represented in Burmese amber, Nemonychidae and a newly recognised family, Mesophyletidae, which appears closely related to Attelabidae but cannot be accommodated in this family. The geniculate antennae and long rostrum with exodont mandibles of most Mesophyletidae indicate that they were highly specialised phytophages of early angiosperms preserved in the amber, likely ovipositing in flowers or seeds. This weevil fauna appears to represent an extinct mid-Cretaceous ecosystem and fills a critical gap in the fossil record of weevils. View Full-Text
Keywords: Curculionoidea; Mesophyletidae; Cretaceous; taxonomy; morphology; CT scanning; amber preparation; angiosperm associations Curculionoidea; Mesophyletidae; Cretaceous; taxonomy; morphology; CT scanning; amber preparation; angiosperm associations
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited (CC BY 4.0).
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Clarke, D.J.; Limaye, A.; McKenna, D.D.; Oberprieler, R.G. The Weevil Fauna Preserved in Burmese Amber—Snapshot of a Unique, Extinct Lineage (Coleoptera: Curculionoidea). Diversity 2019, 11, 1.

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