A remarkable new family of Jurassic insects (Neuroptera) with primitive wing venation and its phylogenetic position in Neuropterida.

Research paper by Qiang Q Yang, Vladimir N VN Makarkin, Shaun L SL Winterton, Alexander V AV Khramov, Dong D Ren

Indexed on: 03 Oct '12Published on: 03 Oct '12Published in: PloS one


Lacewings (insect order Neuroptera), known in the fossil record since the Early Permian, were most diverse in the Mesozoic. A dramatic variety of forms ranged in that time from large butterfly-like Kalligrammatidae to minute two-winged Dipteromantispidae.We describe the intriguing new neuropteran family Parakseneuridae fam. nov. with three new genera and 15 new species from the Middle Jurassic of Daohugou (Inner Mongolia, China) and the Early/Middle Jurassic of Sai-Sagul (Kyrgyzstan): Parakseneura undula gen. et sp. nov., P. albomacula gen. et sp. nov., P. curvivenis gen. et sp. nov., P. nigromacula gen. et sp. nov., P. nigrolinea gen. et sp. nov., P. albadelta gen. et sp. nov., P. cavomaculata gen. et sp. nov., P. inflata gen. et sp. nov., P. metallica gen. et sp. nov., P. emarginata gen. et sp. nov., P. directa gen. et sp. nov., Pseudorapisma jurassicum gen. et sp. nov., P. angustipenne gen. et sp. nov., P. maculatum gen. et sp. nov. (Daohugou); Shuraboneura ovata gen. et sp. nov. (Sai-Sagul). The family comprises large neuropterans with most primitive wing venation in the order indicated by the presence of ScA and AA1+2, and the dichotomous branching of MP, CuA, CuP, AA3+4, AP1+2. The phylogenetic position of Parakseneuridae was investigated using a phylogenetic analysis of morphological scoring for 33 families of extinct and extant Neuropterida combined with DNA sequence data for representatives of all extant families. Parakseneuridae were recovered in a clade with Osmylopsychopidae, Prohemerobiidae, and Ithonidae.The presence of the presumed AA1+2 in wings of Parakseneuridae is a unique plesiomorphic condition hitherto unknown in Neuropterida, the clade comprising Neuroptera, Megaloptera, Raphidioptera. The relative uncertainty of phylogenetic position of Parakseneuridae and the majority of other families of Neuroptera reflects deficient paleontological data, especially from critical important periods for the order, earliest Triassic and latest Triassic/earliest Jurassic.