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, 6 (5), 699-702

X-ray Micro-Tomography of Carboniferous stem-Dictyoptera: New Insights Into Early Insects


X-ray Micro-Tomography of Carboniferous stem-Dictyoptera: New Insights Into Early Insects

Russell Garwood et al. Biol Lett.


Computer reconstructions of Archimylacris eggintoni, a Carboniferous stem-group dictyopteran ('roachoid'), are presented. A siderite-hosted specimen was scanned using high-resolution X-ray microtomography (µCT), and a 'virtual fossil' was created with a resolution of 17.7 µm. This has revealed the morphology in great detail, including adhesive limb structures indicative of climbing and specializations for rapid movement. The antennae are filiform, and the mandibles are comparable to those of certain extant cockroaches, suggesting a similar generalist, saprophagous diet. The reconstruction reveals a high degree of specialization, and provides insights into the mode of life of these common Palaeozoic insects. Further µCT study of insect fossils has the potential to supplement wing venation with new characters, and hence improve fossil insect phylogenies.


Figure 1.
Figure 1.
Scanned specimen—siderite-hosted holotype of A. eggintoni (Bolton 1921) from the Coseley Lagerstätte. (NHM In 31273). Scale bar, 1 cm. Copyright NHM. Photographer Phil Crabb. FW, forewing; HE, head; HW, hindwing; L3, hindleg; PN, pronotum.
Figure 2.
Figure 2.
Computer reconstructions of A. eggintoni. (a) Dorsal view of anterior. (b) Ventral view of anterior. (c) Ventral view, showing all limbs and body. (d) Dorsal view showing wings, pronotum and head. (e) Mandibles. Looking posteriorly, labelling after Zhuzhikov (2007). (f) Right foreleg in the lateral view. (g) Right ventral foreleg. (h) Right midleg in the lateral view. (i) Right ventral midleg. Scale bars, (a,b) 1 mm; (c,d) 5 mm, (ei) 0.5 mm. All images from the higher resolution model except (c,d). AA, anterior acetabulum; AN, antennae; CA, coxa; D.ap, apical tooth; D.m1–D.m3, marginal teeth; EU, euplantulae; FE, femur; FL, flagellum; FW, forewing; HE, head; HW, hindwing; IN, incisor; L1, foreleg; L2, midleg; L3, hindleg; LC, lateral claw; MA, mandibles; ML, left mandible; MR, right mandible; MS, molar surface; PC, posterior condyle; PE, pedicel; PN, pronotum; SC, scape; T1–5, tarsomeres 1–5; TA, tarsus; TI, tibia.

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