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Eng Course- PALEONTOLOGIA LOMBARDA Guide- Download Free PDF


Needham (1903: 739) established the family-group
taxon Petalurinae as a subfamily within the Aesh­
nidae, together with the fossil Stenophlebinae and
Aeschnidiinae and the extant Gomphinae, Aeshni­
nae, Cordulegastrinae and Chlorogomphinae. This
classification was also used in the famous work of
Tillyard (1917). The petalurids were lifted to family
rank as Petaluridae by Till yard (1926) and even given
the rank of a separate superfamily Petaluroidea by
Carle ( 1982) and Pfau (1991). An alpha-taxonomic
revision of extant Petaluridae is in progress by An­
dress (in prep) and by Car le (in prep.).
The alleged fossil Petaluridae represent a 'myth'
because almost all the taxa that have been proposed
to belong to this taxon are in fact unrelated to extant
Petaluridae or at least of very uncertain position (Nel
and Paicheler 1 992; Carpenter in Rowe 1 987: 1 19;
Carle 1 995; Bechly 1 995, 1 996).
Alleged Tertiary petalurids: Needham (1903)
maintained that 'the Petal urinae are well represented
among the Tertiary fossils of Europe', although no
Tertiary dragonfly fossil had been assigned to the
Petaluridae or their stem-group, with the sole excep­
tion of Petalura acutipennis Hagen 1 859 ( = Petalura ?
ovatipennis Hagen 1 859, which is a nomen nudum ac­
cording to Nel and Paicheler 1 992). The latter fossil
has been proposed to be a Cordulegastridae incertae
sedis by Nel and Paicheler ( 1992), but more probably
represents a Gomphides - Lindeniinae, as already
presumed by Handlirsch ( 1908: 899). More recently
Zhang (1989: 29-31 ,414, text-fig. 1 0- 1 3, pi. 3, fig. 1) de­
scribed the new fossil genus Miopetalura from the
Miocene of Shanwang (Shandong Province, China)
with the two species M. shanwangica and M. oriental­
is, not mentioned by Nel and Paicheler ( 1992) since
they did not know of this publication. We have now
the opportunity to discuss the phylogenetic position
of these fossils, that were assigned to Petaluridae by
Zhang ( 1989). Since we came to the conclusion that
they are no petalurids either, there seems to be no
Tertiary fossil record for Petalurida at all.
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