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The first fossil opilioacariform mite (Acari: Opilioacariformes) and the first Baltic amber camel spider (Solifugae)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  26 July 2007

Jason A. Dunlop
Institute für Systematische Zoologie, Museum für Naturkunde der Humboldt-Universität zu Berlin, Invalidenstraße 43, D-10115 Berlin, Germany. e-mail:
Jörg Wunderlich
Hindenburgstraße 94, D-75334 Straubenhardt, Germany. e-mail:
George O. Poinar Jr
Department of Zoology, Oregon State University, Corvallis, OR 97331–2914, USA. e-mail:


The first fossil opilioacariform mite (Acari: Opilioacariformes), Paracarus pristinus sp. n., is described from Baltic amber (Tertiary: Eocene). This well-preserved inclusion has six eyes and, thus, can be excluded from the derived, four-eyed genera. Based on characters such as the extremely long leg 4, it is assigned to the extant central Asian genus Paracarus Chamberlin & Mulaik, 1942. As with many Baltic amber inclusions, we lack an exact provenance for the type specimen, but the Baltic region is further north than the present day range of Recent opilioacariform species and suggests that the range of this group was once more extensive within Eurasia. The first solifuge (Solifugae) from Baltic amber is described as Palaeoblossia groehni gen. et sp. n. Based on its size and general appearance, it can be assigned to Daesiidae, and again represents an arachnid group which previously had a much wider geographical range. If adult, it may represent the smallest solifuge known.

Research Article
Copyright © Royal Society of Edinburgh 2003

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