|Anthoscytina perpetua's 'Forever Love' Reconstruction|
|Anthoscytina perpetua Li, Shih et Ren, sp. nov. |
holotype. male, on the right (CNU-HEM-NN2012002 p) and allotype. female, on the left (CNU-HEM-NN2012003 p). A, photograph of habitus. B, ecological reconstruction
Mating behaviors have been widely studied for extant insects. However, cases of mating individuals are particularly rare in the fossil record of insects, and most of them involved preservation in amber while only in rare cases found in compression fossils. This considerably limits our knowledge of mating position and genitalia orientation during the Mesozoic, and hinders our understanding of the evolution of mating behaviors in this major component of modern ecosystems.
Here we report a pair of copulating froghoppers, Anthoscytina perpetua sp. nov., referable to the Procercopidae, from the Middle Jurassic of northeastern China. They exhibit belly-to-belly mating position as preserved, with male's aedeagus inserting into the female's bursa copulatrix. Abdominal segments 8 to 9 of male are disarticulated suggesting these segments were twisted and flexed during mating. Due to potential taphonomic effect, we cannot rule out that they might have taken side-by-side position, as in extant froghoppers. Genitalia of male and female, based on paratypes, show symmetric structures.
Our findings, consistent with those of extant froghoppers, indicate froghoppers' genitalic symmetry and mating position have remained static for over 165 million years.
Order Hemiptera Linnaeus, 1758
Suborder Cicadomorpha Evans, 1946
Superfamily Cercopoidea Leach, 1815
Family Procercopidae Handlirsch, 1906
Genus Anthoscytina Hong, 1983
Type species. Anthoscytina longa Hong, 1983
(Middle Jurassic of Haifanggou, Beipiao City, Liaoning, China).
Other included species.
A. reducta (Becker-Migdisova, 1949) (Lower Jurassic of Kyzyl-Kiya, Kyrgyzstan);
A. daica Shcherbakov, 1988 (Upper Jurassic–Lower Cretaceous,
Glushkovo Formation of Chita, Siberia, Russia);
A. parallelica Ren, Lu, et Guo, 1995 (Middle Jurassic of Zhouyingzi, Hebei, China); and
A. aphthosa Ren, Yin, et Dou, 1998 (Lower Cretaceous, Yixian Formation of Beipiao, China); and
Anthoscytina perpetua Li, Shih et Ren, sp. nov.
Etymology: From the Latin perpet, eternal love, in reference to this everlasting copulation.
Shu Li, Chungkun Shih, Chen Wang, Hong Pang and Dong Ren. 2013. Forever Love: The Hitherto Earliest Record of Copulating Insects from the Middle Jurassic of China. PLoS ONE. 8(11): e78188.