Evol Ecol Res 7: 479-488 (2005)     Full PDF if your library subscribes.

Coprolites in a Middle Triassic cycad pollen cone: evidence for insect pollination in early cycads?

Sharon D. Klavins,1* Derek W. Kellogg,1 Michael Krings,2 Edith L. Taylor1 and Thomas N. Taylor1

1Department of Ecology & Evolutionary Biology and the Natural History Museum and Biodiversity Research Center, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS 66045-7534, USA and  2Bayerische Staatssammlung für Paläontologie & Geologie und GeoBio-CenterLMU, Richard-Wagner-Straße 10, 80333 München, Germany

Author to whom all correspondence should be addressed.
e-mail: sklavins@ku.edu


Question: What evidence is there for cycad–insect interactions in the fossil record?

Organism: The pollen cone Delemaya spinulosa Klavins, Taylor, Krings et Taylor.

Locality: Fremouw Formation (Middle Triassic), Fremouw Peak, Central Transantarctic Mountains, Antarctica.

Methods: We document the presence of pollen-laden coprolites in pollen sacs of a Middle Triassic cycad.

Conclusions: These coprolites are comparable with fecal pellets of modern arthropods and we suggest that they were produced by beetles. This provides the oldest unequivocal evidence for a cycad–insect interaction and may represent a precursory stage in the establishment of a more complex cycad–pollinator relationship.

Keywords: coprolites, Cycadales, insects, pollinivory, Triassic.

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