Fossil Record 24(2): 263-274, doi: 10.5194/fr-24-263-2021
The first Fulgoridae (Hemiptera: Fulgoromorpha) from the Eocene of the central Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau
expand article infoXiao-Ting Xu, Wei-Yu-Dong Deng, Zhe-Kun Zhou, Torsten Wappler§, Tao Su
‡ CAS Key Laboratory of Tropical Forest Ecology, Xishuangbanna Tropical Botanical Garden, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Mengla 666303, China§ Hessisches Landesmuseum Darmstadt, Darmstadt, Germany
Open Access

The Qinghai–Tibetan Plateau (QTP) played a crucial rolein shaping the biodiversity in Asia during the Cenozoic. However, fossilrecords attributed to insects are still scarce from the QTP, which limitsour understanding on the evolution of biodiversity in this large region.Fulgoridae (lanternfly) is a group of large planthopper in body size, whichis found primarily in tropical regions. The majority of the Fulgoridae bearbrilliant colors and elongated heads. The fossil records of Fulgoridae spanfrom the Eocene to Miocene in the Northern Hemisphere, and only a few fossilspecies from Neogene deposits have been reported in Asia so far. Here, we reporta new fossil record of Fulgoridae from the middle Eocene Lunpola Basin,central QTP. The specimen is in lateral compression, with complete abdomen,thorax, and part of the wings preserved, while most of the head is missing.It belongs to the “lower Fulgoroidea” judging by several strong lateralspines on the hind tibia and a row of teeth at the apex of the secondmetatarsomere. This fossil specimen is assigned to Fulgoridae by comparisonwith nine families of the “lower Fulgoroidea”. The specimen represents theearliest Fulgoridae fossil record in Asia and was considered a newmorphotaxon based on the peculiar legs and wings. Based on the moderndistribution of fulgorid and other paleontological evidence, we suggest awarm climate with relatively low elevation during the middle Eocene in thecentral QTP. Therefore, this new fossil record not only provides importantinformation on insect diversity in the middle Eocene, but also gives newevidence on the paleoenvironment in the core area of the QTP from theperspective of an insect.