Palaeozoic palaeodictyopteran insect nymphs with prominent ovipositors from a new locality

 

Authors: Kiesmüller C, Hörnig MK, Leipner A, Haug C, Haug JT

Published in: Bulletin of Geosciences, volume 94, issue 1; pages: 23 - 40; Received 15 June 2018; Accepted in revised form 5 March 2019; Online 31 March 2019

Keywords: Palaeodictyopteroidea, nymphal development, Carboniferous, Moscovian, Piesberg quarry, Rochdalia,

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Abstract

Palaeodictyopteran insects (ingroup of Palaeodictyopteroidea) are exclusively fossil palaeopterous insects, representing an important faunal component in the late Palaeozoic. Fossils of palaeodictyopteran insects are still rather rare, and especially their ontogeny is still very incompletely known. Here new findings of palaeodictyopteran nymphs from the Piesberg quarry, Osnabrück, are reported. The examined specimens include three more or less complete specimens and three nymphal terga with pronounced wing anlagen of which one shows both meso- and metanotal wing anlagen, and the other two represent isolated mesonota. These findings most likely represent an ontogenetic sequence. The specimens described herein are of the Rochdalia-type of palaeodictyopteran nymphs, being extremely similar to these especially concerning the pronotum, wing anlagen and abdomen morphology. As a remarkable observation, the here described, very complete fossils possess large posterior pointing structures. These are interpreted as ovipositors. The pattern of wing anlagen development and the presence of a large ovipositor support the supposed gradualness of the development of palaeodictyopteran insects. The massiveness and morphology of the ovipositor furthermore indicates that eggs were laid into plants and were most likely rather large and yolk-rich.

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