Early Jurassic coleopterans from the Mintaja insect locality, Western Australia

Sarah Kerry Martin

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    Beetles (Coleoptera) are the most common insects recovered from the Lower Jurassic Mintaja insect locality of Western Australia, with over half of the fossils recorded from this site being isolated coleopteran elytra. A range of partial beetle bodies and other isolated beetle sclerites have also been recovered from the locality; much of this material is taxonomically unidentifiable due to its disarticulation and poor preservation. A number of the Mintaja coleopterans are assigned to the archostematan family Ommatidae, including Zygadenia westraliensis (Riek, 1968) comb. nov, previously placed in the morphogenus Mesothoris, and an unnamed species of Tetraphalerus. Also recorded is a new species of elaterid, Lithomerus wunda sp. nov., along with other fragments likely attributable to the same family. The remaining material is assigned into morphospecies, separated primarily on preserved body parts - specifically, there are three morphospecies based on partially articulated coleopteran bodies, two morphospecies based on isolated head capsules, three morphospecies based on isolated thoracic sclerites, three morphospecies based on isolated abdominal sclerites, and 13 morphospecies based on isolated elytra. Overall, the ecology of these fossils is difficult to interpret due to poor preservation, although some of the beetles were likely aquatic, and the Ommatidae and Elateridae were both likely xylophilous. There is a strong similarity between the Mintaja coleopterans and those from the Late Triassic Denmark Hill locality of Queensland, though many of these similarities are based on morphotaxa and may be superficial in nature. Of the species that have been assigned to named taxa, all are generally typical of the Late Mesozoic worldwide, with Zygadenia, Tetraphalerus and Lithomerus all long-ranging, cosmopolitan genera.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)925 - 953
    Number of pages29
    JournalActa Geologica Sinica (English Edition)
    Issue number4
    Publication statusPublished - 2010

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