A fossil biting midge (Diptera: Ceratopogonidae) from early Eocene Indian amber with a complex pheromone evaporator
Frauke Stebner, Ryszard Szadziewski, Peter T. Rühr, Hukam Singh, Jörg U. Hammel, Gunnar Mikalsen Kvifte & Jes Rust
Scientific Reports 6, Article number: 34352 (2016)
Behavioural ecology Palaeoecology
Received: 20 April 2016 Accepted: 13 September 2016 Published online: 4 October 2016
The life-like fidelity of organisms captured in amber is unique among all kinds of fossilization and represents an invaluable source for different fields of palaeontological and biological research. One of the most challenging aspects in amber research is the study of traits related to behaviour. Here, indirect evidence for pheromone-mediated mating behaviour is recorded from a biting midge (Ceratopogonidae) in 54 million-year-old Indian amber. Camptopterohelea odora n. sp. exhibits a complex, pocket shaped structure on the wings, which resembles the wing folds of certain moth flies (Diptera: Psychodidae) and scent organs that are only known from butterflies and moths (Lepidoptera) so far. Our studies suggests that pheromone releasing structures on the wings have evolved independently in biting midges and might be much more widespread in fossil as well as modern insects than known so far.
The research was possible with a funding to JR (Steinmann Institut, Universität Bonn, Germany) No. RU665/10-1 from the German Research Foundation (DFG). SR-μCT scanning was possible with a funding from the Deutsches Elektronen Synchrotron (DESY), proposal number I-20140387. The authors would like to thank the DESY (beamline PETRA III/IBL P05, operated by the Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Hamburg, Germany), David Grimaldi (American Museum of Natural History, New York, USA) for grammar correction and helpful comments on the manuscript, Art Borkent (Royal British Columbia Museum, Columbia, Canada) for critical comments on the manuscript and for providing Recent material for study and photographs of Recent Camptopetrohelea species, Dorothea Kranz (Steinmann Institut, Bonn, Germany) for artwork, Georg Oleschinski (Steinmann Institut, Bonn, Germany) for preparing photos of Hydrillodes, Gregor Kirfel (Institut für Zellbiologie, Universität Bonn, Germany) and Georg Oleschinski for preparing the scanning electron microscope images, Alexander Blanke (Medical and Biological Engineering Research Group, School of Engineering, University of Hull, Hull, UK) for help during beamtime preparation and proposal writing, Mónica Solórzano Kraemer (Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum, Frankfurt am Main, Germany) for the loan of Succinarisemus totolapensis, Ulrike Kleikamp (Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum A. Koenig, Bonn, Germany) for providing Hydrillodes specimens, Ashok Sahni (Centre of Advanced Study in Geology, Panjab University, Chandigarh, India) and Rajendra S. Rana (Department of Geology, Hemwati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University, Srinagar, India) for support in field work, and Torsten Wappler (Steinmann Institut, Bonn, Germany) for critical comments on an earlier version of the manuscript. The authors are grateful to the authorities of the Tadkeshwar mine for assistance during fieldwork in Gujarat, India. H.S. thanks the director of the Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences (Lucknow, India) for his support.
Steinmann-Institut, Abteilung Paläontologie, Nussallee 8, 53115 Bonn, Germany
Frauke Stebner & Jes Rust
University of Gdańsk, Department of Invertebrate Zoology and Parasitology, Wita Stwosza 59, 80- 308 Gdańsk, Poland
Zoologisches Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig, Zentrum für Molekulare Biodiversitätsforschung, Adenauerallee 160, 53113 Bonn, Germany
Peter T. Rühr
Birbal Sahni Institute of Palaeosciences, 53 University Road, Lucknow, India
Helmholtz-Zentrum Geesthacht, Institut für Werkstoffforschung, Max-Planck-Str. 1, 21502 Geesthacht, Germany
Jörg U. Hammel
University Museum of Bergen, Department of Natural History, P.O. Box 7800, University of Bergen, 5040 Bergen, Norway
Gunnar Mikalsen Kvifte
Universität Kassel, Institut für Biologie, Fachgebiet Limnologie, Heinrich-Plett-Straße 40, 34132 Kassel-Oberzwehren, Germany
Gunnar Mikalsen Kvifte
Investigator contributions are as follows: F.S. and J.R. (concept and design); F.S., R.S., P.T.R., J.U.H., G.M.K. and J.R. (writing team); F.S. and R.S. (systematic investigation and description); F.S., P.T.R. and J.U.H. (sample preparation, SRμCT scan, light microscopy, data analysis); F.S., H.S. and J.R. (field work).
The authors declare no competing financial interests.
Correspondence to Frauke Stebner.