Insect trace fossils in aeolian deposits and calcretes from the Canary Islands: Their ichnotaxonomy, producers, and palaeoenvironmental significance



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Genise, Jorge F. and Alonso-Zarza, Ana María and Verde Cataldo, Mariano and Meléndez Hevia, Alfonso (2013) Insect trace fossils in aeolian deposits and calcretes from the Canary Islands: Their ichnotaxonomy, producers, and palaeoenvironmental significance. Palaeogeography, palaeoclimatology, palaeoecology, 377 . pp. 110-124. ISSN 0031-0182

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Insect trace fossils from Canary Islands have been known and discussed since the beginnings of the last century.
The most common and widespread morphologies have been tentatively referred to the ichnogenera
Celliforma, Palmiraichnus or Rebuffoichnus and attributed to bees, coleopterans, and locusts until now. Herein
they are included in a new single ichnospecies: Rebuffoichnus guanche isp. nov., which can be distinguished
from other ichnospecies by the presence of an antechamber. R. guanche are considered herein as coleopteran
(Curculionidae or Scarabaeidae) pupation chambers. This is supported by themostly horizontal orientation in
soils, ellipsoid shape, dispersion of sizes, and particularly the internal surface of the wall chamber that is
completely smoothed, even in both extremes. In addition, it is supported by the finding of one adult weevil
in a similar trace fossil and palaeoenvironment of Australia. All these characters argue against their assignation
neither, to egg pods of a locust species nor to bee cells, the latter also contradicted by the lack of spiral
closure. The wall of R. guanche shows the same petrological features of those of the palaeosol in which specimens
are found. In those specimens found in aeolian deposits, the wall is composed of sand grains similar to
those found in the dunes or sand sheets. The diversity of microfabrics found in calcretes is higher and depends
on the calcrete hostrock and the degree of development of the calcretes. In poorly developed calcretes
the trace fossils reflect very well the calcrete hostrock, whereas in more developed ones they usually show
peloidal/ooidal or laminar microfabrics. These similarities indicate that, in contrast to some previous reports,
insects utilised as building material that of the surrounding soil, as expectable for a coleopteran pupation
chamber. Lower numbers of R. guanche are recorded in calcretes from the western Canary Islands, where
no aeolian deposits are present, in contrast to the high densities in the aeolian deposits of the eastern Islands.
Coleopterans would first colonise thin soils with calcretes developed on basaltic or sedimentary rocks in
young islands and later colonise dunes as they appear when the islands aged. The widespread presence of
calcretes, aeolian deposits, and trace fossils in the easternmost and older Canary Islands is driven by both
the geological evolution of the Islands and climatic conditions. Both the calcretes and pupation chambers
formed during the relatively wetter periods within otherwise prevailing arid to semiarid conditions.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:Insect trace fossils,Rebuffoichnus guanche isp. nov., Coleopteran pupation chambers, Canary Islands, Aeolian, deposits, Calcretes, Palaeonvironments
Subjects:Sciences > Geology > Paleontology
Sciences > Geology > Petrology
ID Code:25329
Deposited On:08 May 2014 12:24
Last Modified:01 Feb 2015 00:01

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