Plant-Arthropod Interactions in Acanthostrobus edenensis (Cupressaceae), a New Conifer from the Upper Cretaceous of Vancouver Island, British Columbia Public Deposited

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  • Premise of research. A new, morphologically distinct, anatomically preserved conifer assignable to the basal Cupressaceae, which was subject to arthropod infestation during life, has been discovered within a marine carbonate concretion from the Coniacian (Late Cretaceous) Eden Main locality of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. Methods. Specimens were studied from anatomical sections prepared using the classic cellulose acetate peel technique. Pivotal results. This plant, described as Acanthostrobus edenensis gen. et sp. nov., has helically arranged needle leaves and terminal seed cones composed of numerous helically arranged bract/scale complexes dominated by the bract. Both vegetative leaves and bracts display exceptionally long, narrow tips that may have been involved in predator deterrence. The seed cone has diminutive ovuliferous scales with free distal margins; bract/scale complexes bear two to four small, secondarily inverted ovules. Cone tissues contain arthropod feeding galleries surrounded by necrotic tissue and closing tissue (wound periderm) that proliferated throughout the specimen. Conclusions. The new plant is clearly attributable to basal Cupressaceae (Cunninghamioideae, Taiwanioideae, and Athrotaxoideae). While it shares features with extinct Jurassic and Cretaceous Cupressaceae, it exhibits a novel combination of characters that distinguishes it from previously described genera. This discovery expands our understanding of basal cupressaceous diversity and provides insight into conifer-animal interactions during the Cretaceous.
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  • Klymiuk, A. A., Stockey, R. A., & Rothwell, G. W. (2015). Plant-Arthropod Interactions in Acanthostrobus edenensis (Cupressaceae), a New Conifer from the Upper Cretaceous of Vancouver Island, British Columbia. International Journal of Plant Sciences, 176(4), 378-392. doi:10.1086/680684
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  • 176
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  • 4
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  • This research was supported in part by the National Science Foundation (grants EF-0629819, EAR-0949947 and OPP-0943934) and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada (grants NSERC-CRSNG A-6908 and NSERC-CRSNG PGS-D2-438186-2013).
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