The new order of insects: Alienoptera, has just been proposed in a paper due to be published in the journal Gondwana Research. The paper was made available online on 4 March as an accepted manuscript in press, but has not yet been formatted to the standard journal style.
Ming Bai, Rolf Georg Beutel, Klaus-Dieter Klass, Weiwei Zhang, Xingke Yang, Benjamin Wipfler 2016. †Alienoptera – a new insect order in the roach - mantodean twilight zone. Gondwana Research, doi:10.1016/j.gr.2016.02.002 (where the full paper can be downloaded for $35.95)
The new order has been erected based on a single (almost complete) male specimen preserved in amber from the Cretaceous of Myanmar (Burma), which is dated at approximately 99 million-years-old. The fossil inclusion has a body length of 14.5 mm and exhibits a combination of several unusual features seen in various other insect orders, and which the authors used to diagnose their new taxa (the same descriptive diagnosis was provided for the new order, family, genus and species). These include (in addition to others): shortened forewings and fully developed, operational hindwings (similar to those observed in Dermaptera), and specialised attachment pads (arolium), hitherto only known in mantophasmatodean notopterans (heelwalkers). The authors conducted a cladistic analysis which placed their new taxon as sister to Mantodea. They were probably foliage dwelling predators.
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