[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index][Subject Index][Author Index]

Re: Supposed dinosaur/pterosaur parasites are aquatic flies

Ben Creisler <bcreisler@gmail.com> wrote:

> News story:
> http://news.discovery.com/animals/insects/dinosaurs-may-not-have-had-fleas-after-all-130220.htm

The story has its wires crossed.  The strashilids re-described in the
new Nature article are NOT the same insects as the giant "fleas"
described last year.  The giant "fleas" (stem-siphonapterans) might
indeed have been ectoparasites of dinosaurs (Huang et al., 2012 Nature
483: 201-204; Gao et al., 2012, Curr. Biol. 22: 732-735).  But not so
the strashilids, which the new study finds to be amphibious members of
crown Diptera (flies).  Flies, not fleas.

So the title of this news story ("Dinosaurs May Not Have Had Fleas
After All") is downright wrong.  Dinosaurs almost certainly had
parasites, and insects like _Tarwinia_, _Saurodectes_ and
_Pseudopulex_ might have been ectoparasitic on dinosaurs.  The new
article in Nature by Huang et al. makes it clear that putative
ectoparasitic insects are known from the Mesozoic: "Although
definitive Middle Jurassic ectoparasites (fleas) on vertebrates were
reported recently from the Daohugou outcrops."  These were not
strashilids, but something very different.