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Micropterix gertraudae Kurz M. A & M. E. Kurz, 2010

(zoological nomenclature: valid name, available)

General information:

Micropterix gertraudae sp.n. Kurz M. A & M. E. Kurz, 2010: Taxonomy Online
Type locality: Russia, Kaliningrad, Yantarnyy, Lutetian period (Baltic amber)
Type: Holotype : Russia, Kaliningrad, Palmnicken (now Yantarnyy); ID-no. www.nkis.info MK-14295; inclusion in Baltic amber; in coll. Michael Kurz

Synonyms, misspellings, wrong determinations, etc.:
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Habit:

Piece of amber, containing the holotype: Russia, Kaliningrad, Palmnicken, in coll. Michael Kurz holotype: Russia, Kaliningrad, Palmnicken, in coll. Michael Kurz holotype, in transmission: Russia, Kaliningrad, Palmnicken, in coll. Michael Kurz Scheme of venation, holotype: Russia, Kaliningrad, Palmnicken, in coll. Michael Kurz
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view

Description of adults: Examined: 1 (holotype). Forewing length: : 2.6 mm. Head dark brown, eyes blackish, about 0.25 mm in diameter; ocelli present; maxillary palpi prominent, 5-segmented, segment 4 very long, the distal segment short, pointed to a sharp tip; total length of maxillary palpi about 0.65 mm; labial palpi minute, 2-segmented, the distal segment somewhat bulbous; antennae slightly less than 1/2 of forewing length, simple, most probable with ascoid sensillae (not clearly visible); pedicel swollen; thorax dark brown; forewings ovate-lanceolate, with pointed apex, densely covered with scales, in gliding light golden shining, without any recognizeable markings; jugal lobe present but small; Sc forked at 1/2 of its length, the two branches reaching the costal margin at slightly more than 1/4 and at 1/2 of the forewing length; crossvein Sc-R not traceable; R1 free, branching from the stem at 1/4 and reaching the costal margin at about 2/3 of the forewing length; R2+R3 forked at 1/2 of their common length, branching at 1/2 of the forewing length from the R-stem; R4 and R5 free, originating close together from the discoidal cell, R5 leading exactly into the tip of the apex; M1 free from the discoidal cell; M2 branching from the M-stem at about 3/4, M3 slightly less than 1/2 of the forewing length; crossveins from R3 to M2 present, thus forming the anterior additional cell and the discoidal cell; crossvein M-Cu present; CuA1+CuA2 forked in the distal fifth of their common length; CuP free; 1A+1B fused at 1/2 of their common length, reaching the inner margin at 1/3 of the forewing length; hindwing in shape similar to the forewing, but with more rounded tip of the apex; in the hindwing, Sc unforked, reaching the costal margin at 1/2, R1 free, reaching the costal margin at 3/4 of the hindwing length; crossvein Sc-R not traceable; R2+R3 forked at 1/2 of their common length; R4+R5 originating from one point from the discoidal cell, R5 leading directly into the tip of the apex; M1 originating from the discoidal cell distinctly posterior to R5; M2+M3 branching at about 1/2 of the hindwing length from the common stem; CuA1+CuA2 forked in the distal sixth of their common length; crossvein M-Cu present; CuP and anal veins not clearly visible; fringe consisting of long, hairlike scales along the outer margin; legs dark brown, coppery shining; hindcoxa and -femur very prominent; foretibia with epiphysis; midtibia without spurs; hindtibia yellowish, with a pair of spurs each at about 0.7 of the tibial length and at the distal end; near the distal end also some small spines; abdomen dark brown, segments IX and X retracted in repose into segment VIII; apophyses missing.

Distribution:

The species is known only from the single type specimen in Baltic amber, which has been mined at Palmnicken (now Yantarnyy) near Kaliningrad.

Biology:

In a relatively warm period in the Eocene, the amber wood streched from Scandinavia to the Ural Mountains in a broad belt. In the south, it was bordered by an ocean, which reached far into eastern Europe and Asia. The wood consisted of coniferous trees, mainly Pinus succinifera and ancestors of the recent genus Pseudolarix, similar plant associations being present also in North America and throughout temperate Asia (all information retrieved from wikipedia 2010). Gymnosperms and Angiosperms have been plentiful developed already in that wood (e.g. Goeppert & Menge 1883), their pollen being the most likely food of the imagines. The climate has been assumed to be mild and wet, the wood itself to be marshy.

Stages in development:

The early stages are unknown.

Diagnosis:

M. gertraudae sp.n., holotype: Russia, Kaliningrad, Palmnicken; in coll. Michael Kurz M. gertraudae sp.n., holotype, scheme of venation: Russia, Kaliningrad, Palmnicken, in coll. Michael Kurz M. immensipalpa holotype: Image A from Kusnezov, 1941. Image B1 + B2 from Kusnezov, 1941. Fore wing venation. Image C from Kozlov, 1988. Fore wing venation. M. anglica holotype: Forewing: Top image from Jarzembowski, 1980, page 264. Bottom image taken by J. Sohn, 2009.
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: Kurz Michael
Detailed view
Picture from: LepTree Team (creative commons)
Detailed view
Picture from: LepTree Team (creative commons)
Detailed view

The significantly larger size (forewing length 3.2 mm versus 2.6 mm), the thick and long antennae and the extremely large maxillary palpi separate ?Micropterix immensipalpa (Kuznezov, 1941) distinctly from Micropterix gertraudae sp.n.. Furthermore, in the latter species R5 of the forewing runs exactly into the apical tip, whereas in M. immensipalpa this vein reaches the costal margin distinctly anterior of the apex. R1 meets the costal margin at about 2/3 of the forewing length (1/2 in M. immensipalpa). ?Micropterix anglica Jarzembowski, 1980 seems to be even larger than M. immensipalpa (about 4 mm forewing length). Furthermore, this species is assumed to be about 10 ± 5 million years younger than M. gertraudae. (33.9 - 37.2 Ma following Labandeira (1998) versus 40.4 - 48.6 Ma).

Phylogeny: The following apomorphies clearly assign M. gertraudae to the family Micropterigidae (Kristensen 1998, Kristensen in litt.): 1) The most probable presence of ascoid sensillae on the antennae; 2) the swollen pedicel; 3) the greatly shortened labial palpi; 4) the absence of spurs on the midtibiae (spur formula 0-0-4 with an epiphysis on the fore tibia); 5) the absence of apophyses and the general structure of the female postabdomen (segments IX and X retracted in repose into segment VIII). Unfortunately, we could not trace any apomorphy, that could certainly assign the fossil species to any extant or fossil genus of the family. Except for the missing crossvein Sc-R in fore- and hindwings and the exactly apical position of R5 in fore- and hindwings, the venation of the species fits very well for a true Micropterix Hübner, 1825. In most members of the Sabatinca-group, R5 is distinctly postapical and R1 of the forewing is forked. All other Palaearctic and Nearctic species are characterized by thickened antennae, some of them with pre-, some with postapical R5 and partly also with forked R1. Two still undescribed species from NE Australia and Madagascar also have an unforked R1 (Kristensen in litt.), whereas many fossil genera have a more or less exactly apical position of R5 similar to M. gertraudae. Nevertheless, most fossils are not even assignable with certainty to the family Micropterigidae, due to the lack of traceable apomorphies (Kristensen 1998, Kristensen in litt.) and are distinguished by different other characters of the venation like a forked R1 or the shape of the cell. We therefore tentatively place M. gertraudae in the genus Micropterix, being aware that this placement might be erroneous in the light of further investigations.

Worth knowing:

The Baltic amber where the fossil is included belongs to the Lutetian period of the Eocene. Therefore, its age is between 40.4 - 48.6 Ma (44.1 Ma, following Ritzowski 1997, or, about 50 Ma, following Hoffeins in litt.).

Derivatio nominis: The new species is named in honour of my dear girl-friend Gertraud Puchmayr, who not only tolerated, but always strongly supported my investigations over all our common years up to date [Michael Kurz].

Sources:

Bernstein. In: Wikipedia, Die freie Enzyklopädie. Bearbeitungsstand: 1. Februar 2010, 19:30 UTC. URL: http://de.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=Bernstein&oldid=70103709 [visited 4 February 2010, 13:50 UTC].
Goeppert, H. R. & A. Menge 1883. Die Flora des Bernsteins und ihre Beziehungen zur Flora der Tertiärformation und der Gegenwart. 2 Bde., Commissions-Verlag von Wilh. Engelmann in Leipzig. Danzig.
Kristensen, N. P. 1998. The non-glossatan moths: 41–49. – In: N. P. Kristensen (ed.), Lepidoptera, Moths and Butterflies. Vol. 1: Evolution, systematics, and biogeography. – In: M. Fischer (ed.), Handbook of Zoology. Vol. IV Arthropoda: Insecta, Part 35. – Walter De Gruyter, Berlin and New York.
Labandeira, C. 1998 The Palaeobiolgy Database: URL: http://paleodb.org/cgi-bin/bridge.pl?action=basicCollectionSearch&collection_no=21976&is_real_user=1 [visited 1 February 2010].
Ritzkowski, S. 1997. Geschichte der Bernsteinsammlung der Albertus-Universität zu Königsberg i. Pr., Verlag Glückauf GmbH, Essen.

Publication data:

history:
Kurz Michael: 2010.02.03
Kurz Michael: 2010.02.04
Kurz Michael: 2010.02.07
Kurz Marion: 2010.02.21
Kurz Michael: 2010.02.23
Kurz Michael: 2010.03.08
Document reviewed by:
not public: 2010.03.08
Document released by:
Kurz Michael: 2010.03.12

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