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Amblyomma birmitum a new species of hard tick in Burmese amber

  • LIDIA CHITIMIA-DOBLER (a1), BRUNO CANCIAN DE ARAUJO (a2), BERNHARD RUTHENSTEINER (a2), TIMO PFEFFER (a3) and JASON A. DUNLOP (a4)...

Summary

Amblyomma birmitum sp. nov. is formally described as a new record from 99 Ma old Burmese amber from Myanmar. This confirms the presence of the extant hard tick genus Amblyomma C.L. Koch, 1844 (Ixodida: Ixodidae) in the Late Cretaceous. This discovery is placed in its wider context and some reports of fossil hard ticks, such as a Hyalomma C.L. Koch, 1844 in Eocene Baltic amber, are misidentifications. The genus Amblyomma belongs to the clade Metastriata, a group which probably also accommodates two extinct genera, Cornupalpatum Poinar and Brown, 2003 and Compluriscutata Poinar and Buckley, 2008, also found in Burmese amber. All three fossils are thus only a little younger than published molecular divergence time estimates (ca. 124 ± 17 Ma) for the Metastriata lineage. Amblyomma has a largely Gondwanan distribution today. However, in some biogeographical scenarios, e.g. the Samafrica model, its predicted radiation time postdates the dissolution of the original Gondwana supercontinent raising questions about how its current distribution pattern was achieved.

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Corresponding author

*Corresponding author: Museum für Naturkunde, Leibniz Institute for Evolution and Biodiversity Science, Invalidenstrasse 43, D-10115 Berlin, Germany. E-mail: jason.dunlop@mfn-berlin.de

References

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