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Type: Article
Published: 2022-09-22
Page range: 452–460
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Transitional morphology and Afrotropical affinity of a bythinoplectine rove beetle from the early Eocene of India (Coleoptera: Staphylinidae: Pselaphinae)

Division of Biology and Biological Engineering, California Institute of Technology, Pasadena, CA, USA; Division of Invertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY, USA
Coleoptera Staphylinidae Pselaphinae Cambay amber Eocene India biogeography

Abstract

Recently discovered Ypresian-age amber from Cambay, India, reveals an ancient arthropod assemblage on the Indian subcontinent during its collision with Asia. Despite the tectonic history of India, limited connections have been found between the Cambay palaeofauna and present-day Madagascan and mainland African faunas. Here, I describe a new fossil pselaphine rove beetle (Staphylinidae: Pselaphinae) recovered from the Cambay deposit that shows closest apparent phylogenetic affinity to modern Afrotropical genera. Yprezethinus grimaldii gen. et sp. nov. is placed in Bythinoplectini, subtribe Bythinoplectina. Based on antennal and maxillary palp morphology, Yprezethinus is a putative transitional stem lineage of the Zethinus-group of genera—an extant clade distributed across equatorial African rainforests. Although Yprezethinus shares with this clade the derived feature of ovoid antennal clubs formed by tight appression of the apical two segments, it differs from its putative extant relatives in its possession of the plesiomorphic complement of 11 antennomeres, without any fusions of segments. The fossil taxon signifies a biotic link between early Eocene India and continental Africa, and marks the Cenozoic emergence of a tropical leaf litter arthropod fauna approaching that of contemporary, ant-dominated rainforests.

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