The earliest known longhorn beetle (Cerambycidae: Prioninae) and implications for the early evolution of Chrysomeloidea


Mesozoic fossils of longhorn beetles, leaf beetles and other Chrysomeloidea are extremely rare, and little is known about the early evolutionary history of this extraordinarily diverse superfamily of beetles. Here we report the earliest known fossil cerambycid, Cretoprionus liutiaogouensis gen. et sp. nov., from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation of China. C. liutiaogouensis bears several features characteristic of the extant subfamily Prioninae, including a large and robust body, absence of a stridulatory plate on the mesonotum, pseudotetramerous tarsi, mouthparts projecting forwards, and lateral carinae on the prothorax. It represents the only definite Mesozoic record of Cerambycidae, and extends the time of origin of the Prioninae as early as the Early Cretaceous. We incorporate two new calibration points as minimum constraints on the age of (1) Prioninae + Parandrinae and (2) Bruchinae using data from a recent molecular phylogenetic study of Chrysomeloidea, to reconstruct divergence times among the major lineages of Chrysomeloidea. Our analyses suggest that most chrysomeloid families appeared in the Jurassic and diversified over the course of the Cretaceous, a scenario consistent with the codiversification of Chrysomeloidea and their (predominantly) angiospermous hosts; however, the phylogeny of Chrysomeloidea remains incompletely resolved, and further elucidation of timing and patterns of chrysomeloid macroevolution will require additional study. © 2013 Natural History Museum.

Publication Title

Journal of Systematic Palaeontology