Generalist Pollen-Feeding Beetles During the Mid-Cretaceous
36 Pages Posted: 26 Nov 2019 Publication Status: PublishedMore...
The Cretaceous fossil record of amber provides a variety of evidence that is essential for greater understanding of early pollination strategies. Here, we describe four pieces of ca. 99 million-year-old (early Cenomanian) Myanmar amber containing four, closely related genera of short-winged flower beetles (Coleoptera: Kateretidae) associated with abundant pollen grains identified as three distinct palynomorphotypes of the gymnosperm Cycadopites, and Praenymphaeapollenites cenomaniensis gen. and sp. nov., a form-taxon of pollen from a basal angiosperm lineage of water lilies (Nymphaeales: Nymphaeaceae). We demonstrate how a gymnosperm to angiosperm plant-host shift occurred during the mid-Cretaceous, from a generalist pollen-feeding family of beetles, which served as a driving mechanism for the subsequent success of flowering plants.
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