Abstract

The Palaeontinidae (Insecta: Cicadomorpha) from the Upper Jurassic Solnhofen Limestone of Bavaria are revised. The diagnostic characters for three monotypic genera Eocicada Oppenheim, 1888, Prolystra Oppenheim, 1888 and Archipsyche Handlirsch, 1906 are reassessed based on newly discovered material. Beloptesis gigantea (Weyenbergh, 1874), B. oppenheimi Handlirsch, 1906, Limacodites mesozoicus Handlirsch, 1906, and Protopsyche braueri Handlirsch, 1906 are considered to be junior synonyms of Prolystra lithographica Oppenheim, 1888. Eocicada lameerei Handlirsch, 1908 is a junior synonym of E. microcephala Oppenheim, 1888. A key to the species of Solnhofen Palaeontinidae is presented. Solnhofen Palaeontinidae and most Cretaceous Palaeontinidae most probably form a monophyletic group based on the following characters: costal area narrow, vein RA branching from stem R basally, vein ScP not fused with vein RA, clavus much reduced and hindwing smaller. Furthermore, Solnhofen Palaeontinidae are probably basal to Cretaceous Palaeontinidae by the mesonotum lacking distinct longitudinal carinae. A fast succession from early to more derived Palaeontinidae took place during Late Jurassic times. Early Palaeontinidae declined sharply in the Late Jurassic, probably owing to the rise of newly evolved insectivorous animals like early birds and mammals. Late Palaeontinidae with better flight ability survived and became a dominant insect group during latest Jurassic times.

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