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Insect pollination played an important role in the evolution of angiosperms. Little is known, however, about ancient pollination insects and their niche diversity during the pre-angiosperm period due to the rarity of fossil evidence of plant-pollinator interactions.
Recently, a research group led by Prof. Wang Bo from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology of the Chinese Academy of Sciences (NIGPAS) has provided new insight into the niche diversity, chemical communication, and defense mechanisms of Mesozoic pollinating insects. Its findings were published in Nature Communications on September 17.
Examples - Pollination - Niches - Match - Proboscis
One of the most intensely investigated examples of pollination niches is the morphological match between insect proboscis and floral tube length, which Darwin described in a publication in 1877. Kalligrammatid lacewings are among the largest and most conspicuous Mesozoic insects with siphoning mouthparts.
The NIGPAS researchers reported 27 well-preserved kalligrammatids from late Cretaceous Burmese amber (99 Ma) and Chinese Early Cretaceous (125 Ma) and Middle Jurassic (165 Ma) compression rocks.
Kalligrammatid - Proboscides - Length - Mm - Inclusions
Kalligrammatid proboscides vary greatly in length, from 0.6 to 3.2 mm in amber inclusions and about 5 to 18 mm in compression fossils. The high diversity of...
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