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Insect herbivory for Catula gettyi, a late Cretaceous laurel from Utah, USA

Cite this dataset

Maccracken, S. Augusta (2022). Insect herbivory for Catula gettyi, a late Cretaceous laurel from Utah, USA [Dataset]. Dryad.


The Upper Cretaceous (Campanian Stage) Kaiparowits Formation of southern Utah, USA, preserves abundant plant, invertebrate, and vertebrate fossil taxa. Taken together, these fossils indicate that the ecosystems preserved in the Kaiparowits Formation were characterized by high biodiversity. Hundreds of vertebrate and invertebrate species and over 80 plant morphotypes are recognized from the formation, but insects and their associations with plants are largely undocumented. Here, we describe a new fossil leaf taxon, Catula gettyi gen et. sp. nov. in the family Lauraceae from the Kaiparowits Formation. Catula gettyi occurs at numerous localities in this deposit that represent ponded and distal floodplain environments. The type locality for C. gettyi has yielded 1,564 fossil leaf specimens of this species, which provides the opportunity to circumscribe this new plant species. By erecting this new genus and species, we are able to describe ecological associations on C. gettyi and place these interactions within a taxonomic context. We describe an extensive archive of feeding damage on C. gettyi caused by herbivorous insects, including more than 800 occurrences of insect damage belonging to five functional feeding groups indicating that insect-mediated damage on this taxon is both rich and abundant. Catula gettyi is one of the best-sampled host plant taxa from the Mesozoic Era, a poorly sampled time interval, and its insect damage is comparable to other Lauraceae taxa from the younger Late Cretaceous Hell Creek Flora of North Dakota, USA.


Collection made with standard paleobotanical bench quarry techniques. Only specimens of Catula gettyi and Hell Creek laurels were included in these datasets. 


National Science Foundation of Sri Lanka, Award: 2010800