A 202-million-year-old dragonfly fossil was found in the UK

The brand new discovery signifies this Liassophlebiidae A small, extinct household of damsel dragonflies recognized from the early Mesozoic Europe, Asia and Antarctica – arose within the fast aftermath of the Triassic and Jurassic mass extinctions.

Artist's rendering of Liassophlebia sp., based on the frond of the Paleofern species Phlebopteris Muensteri.  Image credit: Jules Kelly, Bristol Museum and Art Gallery/Swaby et al., doi: 10.1080/08912963.2023.2261957.

Artist’s impression of Lasophila sp., resting on the frond of older species Phlebopteris muensteri. Picture credit score: Jules Kelly, Bristol Museum and Artwork Gallery/Swaby et aldoi: 10.1080/08912963.2023.2261957.

Damselflies and dragonflies make up the superorder bugs OdonatopteraOne of many oldest teams of winged bugs. The oldest information of its prevalence date again to the Saropukhovian interval within the Carboniferous interval.

The carboniferous Odonatoptera embrace the well-known, large-sized protozoans often called Griffinless It has the most important wingspan (about 71 cm, or 28 inches) of all bugs which have ever lived.

The Triassic was a pivotal interval for Odonatoptera lineages, with the diversification of the three teams Protozygoptera, Triadophlebiomorpha, and Crown. Odonata.

One of many oldest subspecies of Odonata, Liassophlebiidae, is a small, extinct household of damsel dragonflies recognized from the early Mesozoic of Western Europe, Central Asia, and Antarctica.

Firstly described In 1925, the household is now represented by the next 5 genera: bavarophilippia, FerganoPhilippia, Greminopteron, RosphilippiaAnd Lasophila.

“Whereas proof within the fossil file exhibits that the Liassophlebiidae clearly diversified throughout the Early Jurassic, the preliminary look of the Liassophlebiidae has solely beforehand been prompt from three extremely fragmentary specimens in strata interpreted as the most recent Rheetian at Strensham, Worcestershire, UK.” Open College paleontologist Emily Swaby and colleagues.

“Any new fossils from this household, together with the brand new specimen, are due to this fact necessary to higher consider and perceive the range of the crown Odonata.”

Part (a), counterpart (b) and line drawing (c) of partially fossilized forewings - only the fourth specimen of the Rhaetian family Liassophlebiidae - belonging to the damsel fly Liassophlebia sp.  Parts of the wing are missing, including a large area towards the pointed end.  The thickness of the veins in the wing varies, with the thickest veins being along the upper edge.  Image credit: Swaby et al., doi: 10.1080/08912963.2023.2261957.

Half (a), counterpart (b) and line drawing (c) of a fossilized forewing – solely the fourth specimen from the household Rhaetian Liassophlebiidae – belonging to the damsel dragonfly Lasophila sp. Components of the wing are lacking, together with a big space in direction of the pointed finish. The thickness of the veins within the wing varies, with the thickest veins being alongside the higher edge. Picture credit score: Swabi et aldoi: 10.1080/08912963.2023.2261957.

The brand new specimen from Liassophlebiidae is an incomplete forewing about 4.2 cm (1.7 in) lengthy and 1 cm (0.4 in) huge.

The fossil dates again to 202 million years in the past, the latter a part of the Triassic Period, and certain represents a brand new Rheozoic species. Lasophila intercourse.

Collected from Bowdens Quarry, Somerset, UK, from the underside of White Lias Formation.

Whereas earlier excavations are attributed to… Lasophila The paleontologists mentioned: “(Liassophlebiidae), almost definitely from the Rhaetian, have been fragmentary and incomplete, and this new specimen confirms the presence of Liassophlebiidae close to the Triassic-Jurassic boundary in layers which might be doubtless from the Rhaetian interval.”

“Though the specimen corresponds to a brand new species, we favor to not create a brand new title, because of incomplete conservation of specimens and different species of Lasophila. Due to this fact, the pattern is about to Lasophila intercourse.”

“The invention of this new specimen enriches our information of Odonata range at the moment and means that Liassophlebiidae doubtless arose instantly after the Triassic and Jurassic mass extinctions,” the researchers concluded.

they paper It was revealed within the journal Historic biology.


Emily J. Swaby et al. New Liassophlebiidae (Odonata: Heterophlebioidea) from strata close to the Triassic-Jurassic boundary in Somerset, UK. Historic biology, revealed on-line October 16, 2023; doi: 10.1080/08912963.2023.2261957

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