Mesozoic giant fleas from northeastern China (Siphonaptera): Taxonomy and implications for palaeodiversity
Engel, Michael S.
Scholarly/refereed, publisher version
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The recently discovered definite giant fleas from the Middle Jurassic Daohugou fauna and the Early Cretaceous Jehol fauna of northeastern China represent significant evidence for understanding ectoparasitism in the Mesozoic as well as the evolution of these giant blood feeders with their putative hosts (i.e. hairy or feathered vertebrates). On the basis of seven well-preserved specimens from Daohugou and Huangbanjigou we analyse the systematic classification of these primitive fleas, establishing two new genera and three new species as Pseudopulex wangi sp. nov., Hadropsylla sinica gen. et sp. nov., and Tyrannopsylla beipiaoensis gen. et sp. nov. All of them are assigned to the extinct siphonapteran family Pseudopulicidae, while the Early Cretaceous genus Tarwinia is transferred to Tarwiniidae fam. nov. The basal morphological disparities of Siphonaptera in the Mesozoic are evidenced by the occurrence of at least three distinct groups (pseudopulicids, tarwiniids, and saurophthirids). These disparate morphologies likely indicate adaptations to different hosts.
This is the publisher's version, also available electronically from http://link.springer.com/article/10.1007%2Fs11434-013-5769-3
Huang et al. (2013). Mesozoic giant fleas from northeastern China (Siphonaptera): Taxonomy and implications for palaeodiversity. Chinese Science Bulletin 58(14):1682-1690. http://www.dx.doi.org/10.1007/s11434-013-5769-3
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