Paleoculicis minututs (Diptera: Culicidae) n. Gen., n. Sp., from Cretaceous Canadian amber, with a summary of described fossil mosquitoes

G.O. POINAR, T.J. ZAVORTINIK, T. PIKE, P.A. JOHNSTON

Abstract


A new genus and species of fossil mosquito (Diptera: Culicidae) is described from Canadian Cretaceous amber, thus providing the first undeniable record of this group from the Cretaceous Period. Paleoculicis minutus n.gen., n.sp. can be separated from extant culicids by features of the head, thorax, and abdomen. Paleoculicis has closer affinities to the Culicinae than to the Anophelinae or Toxorhynchitinae. If P. minutus fed on blood, a range of vertebrates (including dinosaurs) were potential hosts some 79 million years ago. A review of previous descriptions of fossil mosquitoes is presented. Many cannot be confidently assigned to the Culicidae, while others are extant species in copal. Only a minority of them can be regarded as true Culicidae, all of which are reported from Tertiary deposits.


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