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Naturwissenschaften. 2016 Oct;103(9-10):85. Epub 2016 Sep 29.

Scale insect larvae preserved in vertebrate coprolites (Le Quesnoy, France, Lower Eocene): paleoecological insights.

Author information

1
Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, CNRS, UPMC, Sorbonne Université, UMR 7207 CR2P, 8 rue Buffon, CP 38, 75005, Paris, France. ninon.robin@edu.mnhn.fr.
2
Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, UMR 7205, CP50, Entomologie, Paris, France.
3
Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle, CNRS, UPMC, Sorbonne Université, UMR 7207 CR2P, 8 rue Buffon, CP 38, 75005, Paris, France.
4
École Pratique des Hautes Études, Laboratoire Évolution des Primates, Paris, France.

Abstract

Coprolites of terrestrial vertebrates from the Sparnacian Le Quesnoy locality (Ypresian, Eocene, MP7, 53 Ma; Oise, France) were examined for possible parasitic helminth eggs. The extraction of the coprolite components was performed by a weak acetolyse and a slide mounting in glycerin. This long examination did not reveal paleoparasite remains, which may be explained through several arguments. However, some pollen grains, some enigmatic components, and two well-preserved first-instar cochineal nymphs (Hemiptera: Sternorrhyncha: Coccoidea) were evidenced in coprolites. Identified as Coccidae, these larvae are the earliest stage of the scale insect development ever reported as fossil, revealing the specific environment of preservation that fossilized scats may provide. These observations, combined to the coprolites morphotype, enable to ascribe the fossil scats producer to a small herbivorous mammal present in the deposit (early perissodactyls or Plesiadapidae). Regarding the ecology of extant representatives of Coccidae, this mammal was a likely foliage consumer, and the abundant Juglandaceae and/or Tiliaceae from Le Quesnoy might have lived parasitized by scale insects. These Early Eocene parasites had an already well-established dissemination strategy, with prevalent minute first-instar larvae. The herein performed extraction technique appears well-suited for the study of carbonate coprolites and could certainly be useful for evidencing other kind of microorganisms (including internal parasites).

KEYWORDS:

Coccidae; Coprolites; Eocene; Le Quesnoy; Palaeoecology; Sparnacian

PMID:
27689232
DOI:
10.1007/s00114-016-1412-x
[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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