Diverse scelionid wasps in Early Cretaceous amber from Spain (Hymenoptera: Platygastroidea)


Authors: Ortega-Blanco J, McKellar RC, Engel MS

Published in: Bulletin of Geosciences, volume 89, issue 3; pages: 553 - 571; Received 22 June 2013; Accepted in revised form 20 November 2013; Online 28 March 2014

Keywords: Insecta, Hymenoptera, Apocrita, Proctotrupomorpha, Platygastroidea, Scelionidae, Mesozoic, Spain, amber, taxonomy,

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Platygastroid wasp diversity in Álava amber is reviewed. Platygastroids are the most numerous group of Hymenoptera in Spanish amber, a pattern typical for many Cretaceous amber deposits, with species of the superfamily sometimes more abundant than all other arthropod lineages. Herein we report on 87 specimens, 62 of them sufficiently preserved to permit specific identification, and all dating from the Lower Cretaceous (middle Albian). Eight new genera and nine new species are described and figured as Proterosceliopsis gen. nov., Proterosceliopsis masneri sp. nov., Bruescelio gen. nov., Bruescelio platycephalus sp. nov., Tithonoscelio gen. nov., Tithonoscelio resinalis sp. nov., Amissascelio gen. nov., Amissascelio temporarius sp. nov., Juxtascelio gen. nov., Juxtascelio interitus sp. nov., Alavascelio gen. nov., Alavascelio delvallei sp. nov., Electroteleiopsis gen. nov., Electroteleiopsis hebdomas sp. nov., Perimoscelio gen. nov., Perimoscelio tyrbastes sp. nov., and P. confector sp. nov. Morphological interspecific variability is low, hindering identification, and as such, taxa are principally diagnosed on structure of the female antenna, tibial spur formula, mesoscutal form, and head and metasomal anatomy. The taxa are discussed in relation to other fossil lineages of platygastroids as well as modern counterparts. All species belong to the “Scelionidae”, a paraphyletic group relative to Platygastridae as currently circumscribed (including Platygastrinae, Scelioninae, Teleasinae, Telenominae). Platygastroid diversity will certainly rise in Spanish amber as abundant new material becomes available from the El Soplao and San Just outcrops. The name Jordanoscelio nom. nov. is proposed to replace the homonymous Microptera Kaddumi for a Jordanian amber (Early Cretaceous) genus of Scelionidae, resulting in Jordanoscelio attiki (Kaddumi) comb. nov.