[Taxacom] Mesozoic origins of many insect families (was: ISE...)

Michael A. Ivie mivie at montana.edu
Sun Jul 24 21:49:22 CDT 2011

Well, the VERY highly derived bark beetles (Scolytinae), which fit within
the weevils (Curculionidae), which are themselves at the tip of the main
lineage of beetles, were fully derived in the lower Cretaceous, so the
idea that most beetle families date to before that is only logical
conclusion (to the extent that the families are in fact arrayed in a
monophyletic tree, something that not all can fufill).  Since beetles are
the 900 lb gorilla in the animal tree of life, this seems to argue that if
the Cretaceous was the Golden Age of insects is it because all the beetle
lineages below the scolytines were already there. See:

ANTHONY I . COGNATO and DAVID GRIMALDI. 2009. 100 million years of
morphological conservation in bark beetles (Coleoptera: Curculionidae:
Scolytinae). Systematic Entomology 34: 93–100.


KIREJTSHUK, et al. 2009. The most ancient bark beetle known: a new tribe,
genus and species from Lebanese amber (Coleoptera, Curculionidae,
Scolytinae. Systematic Entomology 34: 101–112.

Of course, beetles in Kansas originated roughly 6,000 years ago.;-)


> Hi Lars,
>       Well I'm not trying to minimize the importance of
> Cretaceous insect evolution (lots was clearly going on). But on the
> other hand, I want to avoid minimizing the importance (and numbers) of
> modern insect families which originated in the Triassic and Jurassic. I
> find it hard to believe that a "vast majority" of Recent  insect
> families originated in the Cretaceous, and would even be surprised if
> they are a simple majority.  Add the number of extant families arising
> before the Cretaceous to those arising after the Cretaceous, and I bet
> it would exceed the number which arose during the Cretaceous.
>        Hunt et al., 2007 ("A comprehensive phylogeny of
> beetles..." ; Science, 318: 1913-1916) found a very large number of
> modern lineages of beetles having pre-Cretaceous origins). There are
> also many modern families of Diptera that are known from the Jurassic
> (and many of those which are only known back to the Cretaceous will
> probably eventually be found in the Jurassic as well).  
>         Anyway, I think it would be more accurate to say that the
> Jurassic and Cretaceous together form "The Second Golden Age" of insect
> evolution (the First Golden Age being the Carboniferous and Permian).
> If I had to choose between them, I would tend to go with the first as
> being THE Golden Age.
>         --------Cheers,
>                            Ken
> --------------------------------------------------
> Lars wrote:
> Dear Ken and John,
> When I used the phrase "Golden Age of Insect Evolution" for the
> Cretaceous I was certainly not referring to the "ordinal diversity" of
> insects but to their "family diversity". As you correctly noted all of
> the insect orders originated before the Cretaceous. However, the vast
> majority of Recent insect "families" (many others are dealt with in the
> subject issue!) originated (i.e. experienced their Golden Age...) in the
> Cretaceous.
> Cheers,
> Lars
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Michael A. Ivie, Ph.D., F.R.E.S.
Montana Entomology Collection
Marsh Labs, Room 50
1901 S. 19th Ave
Montana State University
Bozeman, MT 59717-3020

(406) 994-4610 (voice)
(406) 994-6029 (FAX)
mivie at montana.edu

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