Eocene and not Cretaceous origin of spider wasps: Fossil evidence from amber

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  • Spider wasps had long been proposed to originate in the mid-Cretaceous based on the Burmese amber fossil Bryopompilus interfector Engel and Grimaldi, 2006. We performed a morphological examination of this fossil and determined it does not belong to Pompilidae or any other described hymenopteran family. Instead, we place it in the new family Bryopompilidae. The oldest verifiable member of the Pompilidae is from Baltic amber, which suggests the family probably originated in the Eocene, not in the mid-Cretaceous as previously proposed. The origin of spider wasps appears to be correlated with an increase in spider familial diversity in the Cenozoic. We also we add two genera to the extinct pompilid fauna: Tainopompilus gen. nov., and Paleogenia gen. nov., and describe three new species of fossil spider wasps: Anoplius planeta sp. nov., from Dominican amber (Burdigalian to Langhian); Paleogenia wahisi sp. nov., from Baltic amber (Lutetian to Priabonian); and Tainopompilus argentum sp. nov, from Dominican amber (Chattian to Langhian).
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  • Rodriguez, J., Waichert, C., Von Dohlen, C. D., Poinar Jr, G., & Pitts, J. P. (2016). Eocene and not Cretaceous origin of spider wasps: Fossil evidence from amber. Acta Palaeontologica Polonica, 61(1), 89-96. doi:10.4202/app.00073.2014
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  • 61
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  • 1
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  • The Utah Agricultural Experiment Station, Utah State University UAES #8490, supported this research. The National Science Foundation award DEB-0743763 to JPP and CDvD also supported this work.
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