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New palaeodictyopterans from the Late Carboniferous of the UK (Insecta: Palaeodictyopterida)

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 January 2018

Jakub Prokop*
Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Viničná 7, CZ-128 44, Praha 2, Czech Republic. Emails:;
Martina Pecharová
Department of Zoology, Faculty of Science, Charles University, Viničná 7, CZ-128 44, Praha 2, Czech Republic. Emails:;
Edmund A. Jarzembowski
State Key Laboratory of Palaeobiology and Stratigraphy, Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Nanjing 210008, China. Department of Earth Sciences, Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD, UK. Email:
Andrew J. Ross
Department of Natural Sciences, National Museums Scotland, Chambers Street, Edinburgh EH1 1JF, UK. Email: Department of Earth Sciences, Natural History Museum, London SW7 5BD, UK. Email:
*Corresponding author


New palaeodictyopterans, Vernooijia sassoonae gen. et sp. nov. (Breyeriidae) and Mazonopterumcooperi sp. nov. (Homoiopteridae) are described from the Middle Pennsylvanian (Westphalian D/Late Asturian) of Writhlington, near Radstock (UK). Based on the re-examination of venation in Breyeriaharlemensis, we propose the transfer of this species to the genus Vernooijia as V.harlemensis (Brauckmann & Gröning, 1996) comb. nov. We report the first record of Homaloneura sp. (Spilapteridae) from the Langsettian to Duckmantian of Coseley, Staffordshire. Additionally, we report a fragmentary wing from the Middle Pennsylvanian (late Westphalian D/early Cantabrian) of the Forest of Dean, Gloucestershire, tentatively belonging to the Lycocercidae. Our re-examination of a putative blattodean nymph described by Rolfe (1967) allows re-assignment to Palaeodictyoptera, as it has well-developed wing pads with a corrugated pattern of probably original tracheation and lacunal channels, identified as presumably nymphal exuvia of Idoptilus sp. Surprisingly, our study reveals the presence of three triangular caudal appendages bearing prominent lateral lamellae emerging from the terminal abdominal segment, previously unknown in other nymphs of Palaeodictyoptera. We assume that these lamellae were originally covered with dense setae and possibly represent modified caudal appendages in the form of tracheal gills, as known in the nymphs of damselflies (Odonata: Zygoptera). Thus, the scenario of a possible aquatic lifestyle for nymphs of at least some members of Palaeodictyoptera, as considered by Brongniart (1885, 1893) and Handlirsch (1906), cannot be definitely excluded.

Copyright © The Royal Society of Edinburgh 2018 

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