TitleHow long can insect species exist? Evidence from extant and fossil Micromalthus beetles (Insecta: Coleoptera)
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2010
AuthorsHornschemeyer, T, Wedmann, S, Poinar, GO
JournalZoological Journal of the Linnean Society
Type of ArticleJournal Article

Six new fossils of Micromalthus (Coleoptera: Archostemata) from Dominican amber are compared with extant and previously described fossil micromalthid beetles. The amber inclusions are well preserved and all important morphological features are visible. Taking into account the morphological variability of the extant species Micromalthus debilis LeConte, 1878, it is not possible to find any morphological features that distinguish the fossils from the extant species. This also applies to the Dominican amber inclusion described as Micromalthus anasi Perkovsky, 2008, which therefore is considered a junior synonym of M. debilis. The lack of morphological change in M. debilis over time might possibly be explained by unusually stable environmental conditions, as this species occupies a very specialized ecological niche in decaying timber. A general survey of fossil insects indistinguishable from extant species is presented. (C) 2009 The Linnean Society of London, Zoological Journal of the Linnean Society, 2010, 158, 300-311. doi: 10.1111/j.1096-3642.2009.00549.x

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