Background: The systematic positions of the extinct insect orders Hypoperlida, Miomoptera and Permopsocida were enigmatic and unstable for nearly a century. The recent studies based on new material, especially from the Cenomanian Burmese amber, shed light on evolutionary history of Acercaria resolving Permopsocida as the stem group of Condylognatha. However, the knowledge of the remaining two orders differs significantly.
Results: In this study, we describe new specimens and evaluate morphology of various structures with emphasis on the mouthparts and wing venation. Our results are primary based on revisions of the type specimens with a proper delimitation of taxa Hypoperlida and Miomoptera followed by their significance for the evolutionary history of Acercaria. Three new genera as Belmomantis gen. nov., Elmomantis gen. nov., and Mazonopsocus gen. nov. are designated as members of Palaeomanteidae. The Pennsylvanian Mazonopsocus provides a minimum age for calibration, in accordance to the presence of crown acercarians during the late Carboniferous.
Conclusions: This contribution demonstrates that Hypoperlida and Miomoptera are stem groups of Acercaria. The putative clade (Hypoperlida + Miomoptera) is appearing as potential sister group of (Psocodea + (Permopsocida + (Thripida + Hemiptera))).
Keywords: Acercaria; Evolutionary history; Insecta; Late Palaeozoic; Mesozoic; Wing venation.