A new Liassophlebiidae (Odonata: Heterophlebioidea) from strata close to the Triassic-Jurassic boundary in Somerset, UK

Swaby, Emily J.; Coe, Angela L.; Hutchinson, Deborah; Riva, Lee and Nel, André (2023). A new Liassophlebiidae (Odonata: Heterophlebioidea) from strata close to the Triassic-Jurassic boundary in Somerset, UK. Historical Biology (Early access).

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1080/08912963.2023.2261957

Abstract

Liassophlebiidae is an extinct family of damsel-dragonflies found in Upper Triassic and Lower Jurassic strata of Europe, Asia and Antarctica. Whilst Liassophlebiidae is well represented by Lower Jurassic fossils, their lowest occurrence in the Upper Triassic has hitherto only been suggested by three fragmentary specimens. These were originally ascribed to two species: Liassophlebia withersi and Liassophlebia batheri, but the latter is now considered nomen dubium. Here we describe a fourth, better preserved specimen that is likely to be Rhaetian (Late Triassic) in age. The specimen, BRSMG Cg3101 a+b, was collected from Bowdens Quarry, Somerset, UK, from the lower part of the White Lias Formation. The specimen comprises an incomplete forewing attributed to Liassophlebia due to: the small number of antenodals, antesubnodals and crossveins between RP and MA based RP3/4 in the base of RP2 opposite the subnodus; a straight and elongate secondary longitudinal vein in the postdiscoidal area; numerous cells and secondary veins in radial and median areas. The specimen is likely to represent a new species and provides stronger evidence than the previous three specimens of the presence of Liassophlebiidae during the late Rhaetian. Its stratigraphical position suggests that Liassophlebiidae arose in the immediate aftermath of the Triassic-Jurassic mass extinction.

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