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Radiology and Medical Imaging

Tomographic Reconstruction of Neopterous Carboniferous Insect Nymphs
Published: Tuesday, September 25, 2012
Author: Russell Garwood et al.

by Russell Garwood, Andrew Ross, Daniel Sotty, Dominique Chabard, Sylvain Charbonnier, Mark Sutton, Philip J. Withers

Two new polyneopteran insect nymphs from the Montceau-les-Mines Lagerstätte of France are presented. Both are preserved in three dimensions, and are imaged with the aid of X-ray micro-tomography, allowing their morphology to be recovered in unprecedented detail. One–Anebos phrixos gen. et sp. nov.–is of uncertain affinities, and preserves portions of the antennae and eyes, coupled with a heavily spined habitus. The other is a roachoid with long antennae and chewing mouthparts very similar in form to the most generalized mandibulate mouthparts of extant orthopteroid insects. Computer reconstructions reveal limbs in both specimens, allowing identification of the segments and annulation in the tarsus, while poorly developed thoracic wing pads suggest both are young instars. This work describes the morphologically best-known Palaeozoic insect nymphs, allowing a better understanding of the juveniles’ palaeobiology and palaeoecology. We also consider the validity of evidence from Palaeozoic juvenile insects in wing origin theories. The study of juvenile Palaeozoic insects is currently a neglected field, yet these fossils provide direct evidence on the evolution of insect development. It is hoped this study will stimulate a renewed interest in such work.