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Fossil Insects: An Introduction to Palaeoentomology

By: David Penney (Author), James E Jepson (Author), Richard Bizley (Illustrator)

222 pages, 240 colour & b/w photos and illustrations

Siri Scientific Press

Paperback | Jul 2014 | #214422 | ISBN-13: 9780957453067
Availability: In stock
NHBS Price: £24.99 $31/€28 approx

About this book

Palaeoentomology represents the interface between two huge scientific disciplines: palaeontology – the study of fossils, and entomology – the study of insects. However, fossils rarely feature extensively in books on insects, and likewise, insects rarely feature in books about fossils. Similarly, college or university palaeontology courses rarely have an entomological component and entomology courses do not usually consider the fossil record of insects in any detail. This is not due to a lack of insect fossils; the fossil record of insects is incredibly diverse in terms of taxonomic scope, age range (Devonian to recent), mode of preservation (amber and rock) and geographical distribution (fossil insects have been recorded from all continents, including Antarctica). In Fossil Insects the authors aim to help bridge the palaeontology–entomology gap by providing a broadly accessible introduction to some of the best preserved fossil insects from a wide range of deposits from around the globe, many of which are beautifully illustrated by colour photographs. Also covered are insect behaviour and ecology in the fossil record, sub-fossil insects, trace fossils and insect species longevity.

Just as insects are useful as ecological indicators today, the same can be expected to be true of the past. Such applications of the insect fossil record are briefly discussed. It is hoped that Fossil Insects will encourage a few future researchers to enter the fascinating realm of palaeoentomology and to this end there is a section on how to become a palaeoentomologist. However, it is aimed at a much broader audience – those with an interest in fossils and/or insects in general, who will no doubt marvel at the diversity and excellent preservation of the fossils illustrated.


Acknowledgements and image credits
Repository abbreviations
List of figures by order
List of figures by deposit
A note on the geological timescale and the dating of insect fossils

               Summary of the Devonian Period
               Summary of the Carboniferous Period
               Summary of the Permian Period
               Summary of the Triassic Period
               Summary of the Jurassic Period
               Summary of the Cretaceous Period
               Summary of the ‘Tertiary’ Period

Insects and their fossilization
                What are fossils and how are they preserved?
                Why study fossil insects?

How to study fossil insects
                Insects in amber
                Insects in rock
                The palaeospecies concept
                Identification of fossil insect species
                How to formally describe new fossil insects

Significant fossil insect localities
                New Zealand
                The Americas

Diversity of fossil insects
               (47 different fossil and extant orders covered)
Insect behaviour and ecology in the fossil record
                Fossil insect assemblages: palaeobiocoenosis or taphocoenosis
                Intrapopulation interactions
                Intraspecific interactions: mating
                Intraspecific interactions: trophallaxis
                Interspecific interactions: parasitism
                Interspecific interactions: symbiosis
                Interspecific interactions: phoresy
                Interspecific interactions: predators and prey
                Individual behaviours: general
                Individual behaviours: communication (including crypsis)

Sub-fossil insects
                Non-copal and archaeo-paleoentomology
                As components of animal coprolites

Insect trace fossils
                What are trace fossils?
               Insect trace fossils

                               Fossil insect nests
                               Pupation chambers
                               Transportable cases
                               Oviposition traces
How long does an insect species exist?
How to become a palaeoentomologist
Literature cited in the text

Index to genera cited in the text

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David Penney is an honorary lecturer in the Faculty of life Sciences at the University of Manchester, UK, a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London and has a PhD and two decades of research experience on fossils preserved in amber. James E. Jepson is a Humboldt Research Fellow at the Museum für Naturkunde in Berlin, Germany and has a PhD and one decade of research experience studying fossil insects in rock. Both are Fellows of the Royal Entomological Society.

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