a, Photograph of the holotype (Institut Royal des Sciences Naturelles de Belgique, a12818) based on part and counterpart (stitching and focus stacking procedure). b, Detail of the proposed head based on part and counterpart. *, base of hypothetical antenna. c, Detail of legs. d, Same area as in c, inverted grey-scale with some legs colour-coded.
Is Strudiella a Devonian insect?
1. Thomas Hörnschemeyer (a)
2. Joachim T. Haug (b)
3. Olivier Bethoux (c)
4. Rolf G. Beutel (d)
5. Sylvain Charbonnier (c)
6. Thomas A. Hegna (e)
7. Markus Koch (f)
8. Jes Rust (g)
9. Sonja Wedmann (h)
10. Sven Bradler (a)
11. Rainer Willmann (a)
a. Johann-Friedrich-Blumenbach-Institute of Zoology and Anthropology, Georg-August-University Göttingen, 37073 Göttingen, Germany
b. Zoological Institute and Museum, Department of Cytology and Evolutionary Biology, University of Greifswald, 17487 Greifswald, Germany
c. Muséum National d'Histoire Naturelle UMR7207 CNRS (CR2P) CP38, 75231 Paris Cedex 05, France
d. Entomology Group, Institut für Spezielle Zoologie und Evolutionsbiologie, Friedrich-Schiller-University Jena, 07743 Jena, Germany
e. Geology Department, Western Illinois University, 1 University Circle, 113 Tillman Hall, Macomb, Illinois 61455, USA
f. Biocentre Grindel and Zoological Museum, University of Hamburg, 20146 Hamburg, Germany
g. Steinmann Institute, Department of Palaeontology, University of Bonn, 53115 Bonn, Germany
h. Senckenberg Forschungsinstitut und Naturmuseum, Forschungsstation Grube Messel, 64409 Messel, Germany
The origin of winged insects (Pterygota), one of the planet’s most diverse lineages of organisms, is assumed to lie in the Devonian, but as an extremely sparse fossil record impedes our understanding of their early diversification, any well-preserved insect fossil from this time would be particularly valuable. Garrouste et al. described an arthropod from Upper Devonian freshwater sediments from the Strud locality in Belgium (~360 million years ago) as an insect, Strudiella devonica. However, based on a thorough re-investigation of the specimen, we conclude that this interpretation is untenable. Hence we believe that, like several other Devonian arthropod remains, Strudiella is not an insect, and utmost diligence should be taken in interpreting poorly preserved Devonian arthropods.