Insect herbivores on Laurophyllum lanigeroides (Engelhardt 1922) WILDE: the role of a distinct plant-insect associational suite in host taxonomic assignment
Wappler, Torsten;Tokuda, Makoto;Yukawa, Junichi;Wilde, Volker
published: Oct 4, 2010
Laurophyllum lanigeroides (Engelhardt) Wilde, one of the most common laurel leaves of the Messel flora, is well known from leaf and cuticle characters but there is no sufficient evidence for confirming affinities to an extant genus of the Lauraceae. However, in the present study we describe two of the most conspicuous damage types on L. lanigeroides in detail and compare them with known insect damage from extant Lauraceae. They appear to resemble galls induced by extant gall midges known from the Oriental and eastern Palaearctic regions. These distinctive damage types lead to a more taxonomically precise identification of the fossil host lineage. Furthermore, the discovery of advanced forms of cecidomyiid insects and their activities in the Tertiary further suggests the diversification and establishment of cecidomyiid leaf galls with living counterparts of the Tertiary flora.