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848 tocNew fossil species of Trichodesma LeConte, 1861 (Coleoptera: Ptinidae) from Eocene Baltic amber collected in the Kaliningrad region, Russia

Andris Bukejs, Jiří Háva, and Vitalii I. Alekseev

Article number: 21.2.17A
Copyright Paleontological Society, May 2018

Author biographies
Plain-language and multi-lingual abstracts
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Submission: 4 January 2018. Acceptance: 2 April 2018

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Based on a well-preserved specimen from Eocene Baltic amber (Kaliningrad region, Russia), Trichodesma fennosarmatica sp. nov. is described and illustrated. It is the fourth fossil species of this genus. The new species is similar to the extinct Trichodesma electra Zahradník and Háva, 2017, T. groehni Zahradník and Háva, 2017, and T. amberica Zahradník and Háva, 2017 from Baltic amber, but differs in the number of elytral tufts of erect setae that are present. A key to fossil species of Trichodesma is provided.

Andris Bukejs. Institute of Life Sciences and Technologies, Daugavpils University, Vienības Str. 13, Daugavpils, Latvia.
Jiří Háva. Department of Forest Protection and Entomology, Faculty of Forestry and Wood Sciences, Czech University of Life Sciences, Kamýcká 1176, CZ-165 21, Prague 6 - Suchdol, Czech Republic.
Vitalii I. Alekseev (corresponding author). Department of Zootechny, Kaliningrad State Technical University, Sovetsky avenue 1. 236000, Kaliningrad, Russia.

Keywords: Anobiinae; death-watch beetle; fossil resin; Paleogene; Tertiary; new species

Final citation: Bukejs, Andris, Háva, Jiří, and Alekseev, Vitalii I. 2018. New fossil species of Trichodesma LeConte, 1861 (Coleoptera: Ptinidae) from Eocene Baltic amber collected in the Kaliningrad region, Russia. Palaeontologia Electronica 21.2.17A 1-7.

Copyright: May 2018 Paleontological Society.
This is an open access article distributed under the terms of Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International (CC BY-NC-SA 4.0), which permits users to copy and redistribute the material in any medium or format, provided it is not used for commercial purposes and the original author and source are credited, with indications if any changes are made.


The genus Trichodesma LeConte, 1861 contains 68 extant species and is distributed in the southern and southwestern Nearctic, Neotropical, eastern Palaearctic, Afrotropical and northern Indomalayan regions (Español, 1966; White, 1982; Peck, 2005; Sakai, 2005; Viñolas and Masó, 2007; Zahradník, 2007; Zahradník and Háva, 2014b). Three fossil species of this genus have been described from Baltic amber (Zahradník and Háva, 2017) until now. In the present paper, the study of the Ptinidae paleofauna of this Lagerstätte is continued (Quiel, 1909; Abdullah and Abdullah, 1967; Kuśka, 1992; Bellés and Vitali, 2007; Hawkeswood et al., 2009; Alekseev, 2012, 2014; Zahradník and Háva, 2014a, 2017; Bukejs and Alekseev, 2015; Bukejs et al., 2017), and a new species from Baltic amber is described. A key to the described Trichodesma species from Baltic amber is provided in Appendix 1.


The material examined is currently housed in the private collection of Christel and Hans Werner Hoffeins, Hamburg, Germany (CCHH), and the holotype (current number CCHH 1771-1) will be placed in the Senckenberg Deutsches Entomologisches Institut under the number SDEI Coleoptera # 301525, as part of the institute’s amber collection. The amber piece was prepared manually and covered with polyurethane lacquer to avoid oxidation. Observations of this specimen were made using a Nikon® SMZ 745T stereomicroscope. The photographs were taken using a Nikon® SMZ 745T stereomicroscope equipped with a Nikon® DSFi1 digital camera. Extended depth of field at high magnifications was achieved by combining multiple images from a range of focal planes using Helicon Focus 6.0.1 software. Measurements were taken using an ocular micrometer on a stereomicroscope (and these are expressed in millimeters).

The type specimen of the species described herein has been provided with a red, printed label: “HOLOTYPE Trichodesma fennosarmatica sp. nov. Bukejs, Háva and Alekseev det. 2018”.


Family PTINIDAE Latreille, 1802
Subfamily ANOBIINAE Fleming, 1821
Tribe NICOBIINI White, 1982
Genus TRICHODESMA LeConte, 1861

Note. The specimen considered here was assigned to the genus Trichodesma within the tribe Nicobiini based on a combination of the following morphological characters: (1) body dorsal surface with tufts of erect setae; (2) tarsal claws with wide, basal tooth.

Trichodesma fennosarmatica sp. nov.
Figure 1.1-3, Figure 2.3-4

Type material. Holotype: No. 1771-1 (CCHH), adult, sex unknown. Complete beetle included in small, transparent, yellow amber piece with dimensions of 11x8x5 mm. Syninclusions consist of a female Dolichopodidae (Diptera), plant trichomes (stellate hairs), many small pieces of organic material, and few gas vesicles.

s figure1Type strata. Blue Earth layer, Baltic amber, Middle Eocene to Upper Eocene.

Type locality. Yantarny settlement (formerly Palmnicken), Sambian (Samland) Peninsula, the Kaliningrad region, Russia.

Etymology. The specific epithet “fennosarmatica” is formed after the word Fennosarmatia, the palaeogeographical amberiferous Eocene continental area, uniting the present-day Fennoscandia and East European plain.

Differential diagnosis. The new species differs from fossil Trichodesma electra Zahradník and Háva, 2017, T. groehni Zahradník and Háva, 2017 and T. amberica Zahradník and Háva, 2017 in number of elytral tufts (see key in Appendix 1).

Description. Body length ca. 6.2 mm; body shape elongate, subcylindrical; body color reddish dark brown, with appendages slightly paler in color. Pronotum and elytra with setation of two types: (1) short, dense, white subrecumbent pubescence, and (2) long, sparse, brown erect setae. Head with short, sparse, subrecumbent setae; ventral surface densely covered with short, white recumbent pubescence. Pronotum with tuft of erect reddish-brown setae. Each elytron apparently with six weak, short, longitudinal tufts of erect reddish-brown setae: three tufts present in apical one-fourth of elytral length, two tufts present on elytral disc (near elytral suture), and one indistinct tuft located near humerus.

Head hypognathous, evenly convex; frons with sparse, fine punctures; vertex with dense, small granules, and interspaces between granules smaller than diameter of one granule. Compound eyes small, oval, convex, entire, with distinct facets, without ommatidial setae; distance between compound eyes nearly equal to 2x vertical diameter of one eye. Last labial palpomere triangular with widened apex, anterior margin bisinuate. Antennae almost not visible in examined specimen; apical antennomere elongate, nearly spindle-shaped, penultimate antennomere slightly dilated apically, about 0.6x length of apical antennomere. Antennal insertions widely separated; interantennal distance equal to 0.75x width of frons.

Pronotum convex medially, with large bump in middle; densely granulated (with granulation near posterior margin distinctly sparser), distance between granules equal to 0.3-1.2x diameter of one granule.

s figure2Scutellar shield triangular, large, transverse. Elytra subparallel, elongate, with humeral calli well developed. Elytral punctures round, dense, moderately large, arranged in striae; striae distinct throughout entire length of elytron, distance between strial punctures equal to 0.5-1.5x diameter of one puncture; interstrial intervals convex; distance between striae about 2.0-2.5x diameter of one strial puncture.

Epipleura with sparse, long, erect setae and dense granulation; wide near humeri and gradually narrowing toward elytral apex, but not reaching elytral apex. Hypomera and metasternum with moderately sparse, small granules. Abdomen with five visible ventrites, with sparse, small granulation. Relative length ratios of ventrites 1-5 (medially) equal to 18-30-25-10-23.

Legs short and moderately robust. Mesocoxae globose, distinctly separated. Metacoxae elongate, transverse, widely separated; metacoxal plaques short, subtriangular with rounded apex. Trochanters subglobous. Femora and tibiae almost equal in length; femora clavate, ventrally with longitudinal groove for reception of tibiae; tibiae straight, not widened apically. Tarsal formula: 5-5-5. Tarsomeres 1-2 transverse, short, subequal in length; tarsomeres 3-4 deeply lobed, strongly transverse; tarsomere 5 large, about as long as tarsomeres 3-4 combined, widened apically, nearly as long as wide. Relative length ratios of mesotarsomeres 1-5 (medially) equal to 7-6-10-9-18. Tarsal claws long, with large, wide tooth basally.


Several ecological inferences can be drawn on the basis of the fossil species diversity of Trichodesma in Baltic amber, when compared to the recent biology of the genus. Various hardwood trees have been reported as hosts for many members of Trichodesma in North America (White, 1982), some of these trees are: Carya, Lindera, Benzoin, Nyssa, Persea, and Liquidambar. In contrast to a majority of the described Baltic amber anobiine beetles (conifer specialists like Microbregma ; or taxa associated with many different trees, like Hemicoelus), the diverse Trichodesma representatives provide strong evidence for the presence of a rich, deciduous, warm-temperate flora in the Eocene Baltic forests. The recently published analyses of the Baltic amber plant assemblage (Alekseev and Gnilovskaja, 2016; Ignatov et al., 2016; Sadowski et al., 2017a, 2017b) complement the interpretation that is forming as a result of studies on insect inclusions. Plant inclusion data, combined with the data that has been accumulated in the last few decades, on the assemblages and paleoecology of phytophagous and xylophagous beetles, is building toward a significant advance in the understanding of the Eocene amber ecosystem.


The authors are sincerely grateful to Ch. and H.W. Hoffeins (Hamburg, Germany) for the loan of fossil material from their great private collection and for the determination of the Diptera syninclusion. Three anonymous reviewers are greatly appreciated for their valuable comments and corrections.


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