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Florissantoraphidia funerata

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Kingdom  Animalia
Class  Insecta
Suborder  Raphidiomorpha
Scientific name  Raphidia funerata
Phylum  Arthropoda
Order  Raphidioptera
Family  Raphidiidae
Rank  Species

Florissantoraphidia funerata is an extinct species of snakefly, originally assigned to the raphidiid genus Raphidia, but subsequently transferred to the genus Florissantoraphidia. The name F. funerata is derived from the Latin funeratus meaning to "bury" or "intern". The species is known from a single female specimen, the holotype, deposited in the Department of Palaeontology at the Natural History Museum in London as specimen number "In. 26922". Though they did not study the specimen, Horst Aspöck, Ulrike Aspöck and Hubert Rausch in the 1991 work Die Raphidiopteren der Erde noted and figured the specimen as an "unidentified raphidiid". Dr. Michael S. Engel first studied and described the species after finding the specimen in the Department of Palaeontology collections. He published his type description in the journal Transactions of the Kansas Academy of Science (Volume 106) in 2003.

F. funerata was found in the Florissant Formation, which has produced seven other species of snakefly, six in Raphidia and one in the Inocelliida genus Fibla. Out of the described snakefly specimens from the Florissant Formation, the F. funerata holotype is the most complete. Preserved as a compression fossil, the female individual is fossilized in a resting position giving a side view to the body and wings. Including the ovipositor, F. funerata is 16.5 millimetres (0.65 in) and has a forewing length of 10 millimetres (0.39 in). Of the known snakefly species, F. funerata is closest in appearance to the extinct F. mortua, which is also known from the Florissant Formation. The two cogeneric species can be separated by several features of the forewing, including a lack of terminal forks in veins along the posterior margin of the wing in F. funerata, and the radial cell bordering the pterostigma narrowing at the base in F. mortua. F. funerata was originally assigned to the genus Raphidia, but this assignment was made with hesitation by Dr. Engel as the characteristics used to separate living genera, the reproductive structures, are not preserved in most fossils and very rarely in compression fossils. Engel considered it is possible the Florrisant Formation species are members of one of the two nearctic genera Alena or Agulla. In a 2014 study Vladimir N. Makarkin and S. Bruce Archibald removed the species F. mortua and F. funerata from the genus Raphidia, and transferred them to a new, separate genus which the authors named Florissantoraphidia.

References

Florissantoraphidia funerata Wikipedia


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