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Blood-sucking bugs from the Cretaceous of China



Ben Creisler
bcreisler@gmail.com


A new online paper that may be on interest:


Yunzhi Yao, Wanzhi Cai, Xing Xu, Chungkun Shih, Michael S. Engel,
Xiaoting Zheng, Yunyun Zhao & Dong Ren (2014)
Blood-Feeding True Bugs in the Early Cretaceous.
Current Biology (advance online publication)
DOI: 10.1016/j.cub.2014.06.045
http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0960982214007611

Highlights

A new family of true bugs is described from the Early Cretaceous of China
This extends the geological record of such lineages by approximately
30 million years
One specimen appears to have died immediately following a blood meal
These new bugs represent the earliest evidence of hematophagy in true bugs


Summary

Blood-feeding insects, as vectors of disease for humans and livestock
alike, have garnered significant interest, but our understanding of
their early evolution is hindered by the scarcity of available
material and the difficulty in distinguishing early hematophages from
non-blood-feeding relatives. Here, we report a new family of true bugs
including two new genera and species from the Early Cretaceous Yixian
Formation in Northeastern China. By utilizing geochemical methods for
determining their diets and combining morphological and taphonomic
data, we demonstrate that these new species represent the earliest
evidence of blood feeding among true bugs, extending the geological
record of such lineages by approximately 30 million years. Remarkably,
one of the bugs appears to have perished immediately following a blood
meal, which may have been from coexisting mammals, birds, or
avian-related dinosaurs. These records expand the phylogenetic and
ecological diversity of blood-feeding insects in the Early Cretaceous,
enriching our knowledge of paleoecological associations in these
ancient environments.