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Published: 2021-08-31

The earliest record of fossil solid-wood-borer larvae—immature beetles in 99 million-year-old Myanmar amber

Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Biocenter, Großhaderner Str. 2, 82152 Planegg-Martinsried, Germany; GeoBio-Center at LMU, Richard-Wagner-Str. 10, 80333 München, Germany
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Biocenter, Großhaderner Str. 2, 82152 Planegg-Martinsried, Germany
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Biocenter, Großhaderner Str. 2, 82152 Planegg-Martinsried, Germany
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Biocenter, Großhaderner Str. 2, 82152 Planegg-Martinsried, Germany
Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München, Biocenter, Großhaderner Str. 2, 82152 Planegg-Martinsried, Germany; GeoBio-Center at LMU, Richard-Wagner-Str. 10, 80333 München, Germany
Buprestidae Cerambycidae Burmese amber Cretaceous Kachin amber


Interactions between animals and plants represent an important driver of evolution. Especially the group Insecta has an enormous impact on plants, e.g., by consuming them. Among beetles, the larvae of different groups (Buprestidae, Cerambycidae, partly Eucnemidae) bore into wood and are therefore called wood-borer larvae or borers. While adults of these beetle groups are well known in the fossil record, there are barely any fossils of the corresponding larvae. We report here four new wood-borer larvae from Cretaceous Kachin amber (Myanmar, ca. 99 Ma). To compare these fossils with extant wood-borer larvae, we reconstructed the body outline and performed shape analysis via elliptic Fourier transformation and a subsequent principal component analysis. Two of the new larvae plot closely together and clearly in the same area as modern representatives of Buprestidae. As they furthermore lack legs, they are interpreted as representatives of Buprestidae. The other two new larvae possess legs and plot far apart from each other. They are more difficult to interpret; they may represent larvae of early offshoots of either Cerambycidae or Buprestidae, which still retain longer legs. These findings represent the earliest fossil record of larvae of Buprestidae and possibly of Cerambycidae known to date.


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