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Type: Article
Published: 2023-10-30
Page range: 472–481
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Evolution of Insect Diversity in the Permian and Triassic

State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), Wuhan 430074, China
State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), Wuhan 430074, China
State Key Laboratory of Biogeology and Environmental Geology, China University of Geosciences (Wuhan), Wuhan 430074, China
Diversity change subsampling extinction terrestrial ecosystem fossil record


The global warming that occurred during the Permo-Triassic transition, following the end of the Late Paleozoic glaciation, and the resulting responses of the biota to the changing environment, are considered important analogs for understanding rapid future warming scenarios. While there has been extensive research on the patterns and extent of diversity in plants, tetrapods, and marine invertebrates during the Permo-Triassic, the study of insect diversity and the evolution of their faunal composition has been relatively limited. The question of whether there were insect extinctions during this period continues to be a subject of debate. Here, we present a statistical study on taxonomic diversity of insects—at specific, generic and familial levels—throughout the Permian and Triassic, with subsampled context on the reported global occurrences. Our result show that more than one insect extinction events, accompanied by significant diversity drop and turnovers of faunal compositional, occurred in the Permian and Triassic. All the uncovered insect diversity crises exhibit strong correspondence with the well-known marine mass extinction events in the Middle Permian, Permo-Triassic transition, Carnian, and Rhaetian, whilst the marine correspondence with the Early Permian insect crisis is less pronounced. Insects, being a major component of terrestrial ecosystems, demonstrate varied diversity responses to climatic changes in Permian and Triassic. Our study sheds new light on the intricate interplay between insect diversity evolution and the changing environmental conditions during these critical geohistorical periods.


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