Is Strudiella a Devonian insect?

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Abstract

Arising from R. Garrouste et al. Nature 488, 82–85 (2012)10.1038/nature11281

The origin of winged insects (Pterygota), one of the planet’s most diverse lineages of organisms, is assumed to lie in the Devonian, but as an extremely sparse fossil record impedes our understanding of their early diversification, any well-preserved insect fossil from this time would be particularly valuable1. Garrouste et al.2 described an arthropod from Upper Devonian freshwater sediments from the Strud locality in Belgium (360 million years ago) as an insect, Strudiella devonica. However, based on a thorough re-investigation of the specimen, we conclude that this interpretation is untenable. Hence we believe that, like several other Devonian arthropod remains3,4,5,6,7, Strudiella is not an insect, and utmost diligence should be taken in interpreting poorly preserved Devonian arthropods.

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Figure 1: Strudiella devonica Garrouste et al. 2012.

References

  1. 1

    Shear, W. A. An insect to fill the gap. Nature 488, 34–35 (2012)

  2. 2

    Garrouste, R. et al. A complete insect from the Late Devonian period. Nature 488, 82–85 (2012)

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    Willmann, R. Reinterpretation of an alleged marine hexapod stem-group representative. Org. Divers. Evol. 5, 199–202 (2005)

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    Kühl, G. & Rust, J. Devonohexapodus bocksbergensis is a synonym of Wingertshellicus backesi (Euarthropoda) – no evidence for marine hexapods living in the Devonian Hunsrück Sea. Org. Divers. Evol. 9, 215–231 (2009)

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    Hennig, W. Insect Phylogeny (Wiley, 1981)

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    Labandeira, C. C., Beall, B. S. & Hueber, F. M. Early insect diversification: Evidence from a Lower Devonian bristletail from Québec. Science 242, 913–916 (1988)

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    Jeram, A. J., Selden, P. A. & Edwards, D. Land animals in the Silurian: arachnids and myriapods from Shropshire, England. Science 250, 658–661 (1990)

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Author information

T.H., J.T.H., O.B., S.B. and R.W. examined the fossil, T.H., J.T.H., O.B., T.A.H., S.W., S.B. and R.W. drafted the manuscript, T.H., O.B., R.G.B., S.C., T.A.H., M.K., J.R., S.B. and R.W. edited the final article.

Correspondence to Rainer Willmann.

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Hörnschemeyer, T., Haug, J., Bethoux, O. et al. Is Strudiella a Devonian insect?. Nature 494, E3–E4 (2013) doi:10.1038/nature11887

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