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The Co-Radiations of Pollinating Insects and Angiosperms in the Cretaceous

David Grimaldi
Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden
Vol. 86, No. 2 (Spring, 1999), pp. 373-406
DOI: 10.2307/2666181
Stable URL: http://www.jstor.org/stable/2666181
Page Count: 34
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The Co-Radiations of Pollinating Insects and Angiosperms in the Cretaceous
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Abstract

The origins of many groups of flower-visiting insects are generally believed to have been in the Cretaceous. However, a recent hypothesis has concluded that many modern families of insects originated in the Jurassic, and that the Cretaceous radiation of angiosperms had little positive effect on the diversity of insect families. It is shown here, based on critical and phylogenetic interpretation of Mesozoic fossils, that radiations of major anthophilic groups of insects took place in the late part of the Lower Cretaceous to Upper Cretaceous: the bees (Apoidea/Apidae sensu lato), pollen wasps (Vespidae: Masarinae), various families of brachyceran flies (Acroceridae, Apioceridae, Bombyliidae, Empididae, Nemestrinidae, Stratiomyidae, and Syrphidae), and the Lepidoptera. The pattern of diversification of these insects, centered in the mid-Cretaceous, is consistent with the chronology of appearance of entomophilous syndromes in Cretaceous flowers, and not with a model of late Jurassic or earliest Cretaceous diversification of pollinating insects. Despite a more refined understanding of the timing of Cretaceous insect-angiosperm co-radiations, cause and effect relationships remain obscure.

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