Eur. J. Entomol. 111 (1): 137-141, 2014 | 10.14411/eje.2014.014

Termites (Isoptera) from the Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary: Evidence for the longevity of their earliest genera

Peter VR©ANSKÝ1,2, Danil ARISTOV2
1 Geological Institute, Slovak Academy of Sciences, Dúbravská cesta 9, P.O. Box 106, 840 05 Bratislava 45, Slovakia; e-mail: geolvrsa@savba.sk
2 Arthropoda Laboratory, Paleontological Institute, Russian Academy of Sciences, Profsoyuznaya 123, 117868 Moscow, Russia; e-mail: lab@palaeoentomolog.ru

The earliest termite of the extant genus Mastotermes, is herein recorded in the Jurassic/Cretaceous (J/K) transitional beds of Chernovskie Kopi in Transbaikalian Russia along with Santonitermes of an uncertain family. These records represent the earliest eusocial organisms. No termites have ever been recorded among the hundreds of thousands of fossil insects in the Jurassic/Cretaceous boundary Beds of China and Mongolia or in prior time periods. Both genera indicate that the early termites survived for an extremely long period of time. The present find both provides evidence of the greatest ghost range (60 Mya) of any winged stem cockroach family and indicates that the origin of termites and evolution of eusociality occurred later than the Middle Jurassic.

Keywords: Dictyoptera, Isoptera, Mastotermitidae, eusociality, fossil insects, Mesozoic, Chernovskie Kopi, Transbaikalian Russia

Received: March 12, 2013; Accepted: July 9, 2013; Published: January 9, 2014

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