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Data from: Eudicot pollen-feeding in a Cretaceous stinging wasp (Angiospermae; Hymenoptera: Aculeata)

Citation

Grimaldi, David et al. (2021), Data from: Eudicot pollen-feeding in a Cretaceous stinging wasp (Angiospermae; Hymenoptera: Aculeata), Dryad, Dataset, https://doi.org/10.5061/dryad.741vs1j

Abstract

Angiosperms and their insect pollinators form a foundational symbiosis, evidence for which from the Cretaceous is mostly indirect, based on fossils of insect taxa that today are anthophilous, and of fossil insects and flowers that have apparent anthophilous and entomophilous specializations, respectively. We present exceptional direct evidence preserved in mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber, 100 mya, for feeding on pollen in the eudicot genus Tricolporoidites by a basal new aculeate wasp, Prosphex anthophilos, gen. et sp. nov., in the lineage that contains the ants, bees, and other stinging wasps. Plume of hundreds of pollen grains wafts from its mouth and an apparent pollen mass was detected by micro-CT in the buccal cavity: clear evidence that the wasp was foraging on the pollen. Eudicots today comprise nearly three-quarters of all angiosperm species. Prosphex feeding on Tricolporoidites supports the hypothesis that relatively small, generalized insect anthophiles were important pollinators of early angiosperms.

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