A Robinson Crusoe story in the fossil record: plant-insect interactions from a Middle Jurassic ephemeral volcanic island (Eastern Spain)
UNIVERSAL IDENTIFIER: http://hdl.handle.net/11093/2633
EDITED VERSION: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.palaeo.2021.110655
UNESCO SUBJECT: 2416.04 Paleontología de las Plantas
DOCUMENT TYPE: article
We present here the first record of plant-insect interactions from an ephemeral volcanic island that was placed 150 km away from the nearest continental mass. The island was formed and destroyed during the Aalenian (Middle Jurassic) in a shallow sea of the southwestern Tethyan realm corresponding today to a place located in eastern Spain. These plant-insect interactions were mainly documented in leaves of Cycadophytes (comprising both Cycads and Bennettitales), and they have been described and classified into different Damage Types (DTs) and Functional Feeding Groups (FFGs). The interactions were assigned to 11 different DTs including different types of hole feeding, margin feeding, surface feeding, piercing and sucking, mining(?), and some putative ovipositional scars. The presence of these interactions implies that the island was colonized by different groups of insects, including orders such as Coleoptera, Hemiptera, Odonata, or Lepidoptera. The low variety and incidence of interactions comparing with other Middle Jurassic plant-insect interactions assemblages indicate that the diversity of insects was not high, possibly due to the difficulty of reaching this island by various lineages, the small size of the landmass of the island, and the limited food availability (mainly Cycadophytes). Possible colonization strategies could be by atmospheric dispersion, using floating remains of plants or pterosaurs as vectors, by active flight for Lepidoptera, or by rafting and floating in marine currents for flightless or other insects.
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