A new spider cricket (Orthoptera: Gryllidae: Phalangopsinae) is described from an adult female preserved in Early Miocene (Burdigalian) amber from the Dominican Republic. Araneagryllus dylani gen. et sp. nov. represents the first fossil record of Phalangopsinae, and is assigned to the tribe Luzarini, subtribe Amphiacustina stat. nov. A cladistic analysis of Amphiacustina places Araneagryllus gen. nov. within a clade comprising Arachnopsita, Leptopedetes, Longuripes, Mayagryllus, Nemoricantor, and Prolonguripes. This clade is the sister group to a clade comprising Amphiacusta, Cantrallia, and Noctivox. The results of this analysis suggest that: (1) the common ancestor of all Amphiacustina was epigean, and was likely to have been cavicolous and/or straminicolous; (2) strict troglobitism evolved twice within Amphiacustina, once in the lineage leading to Noctivox and again in the clade comprising Mayagryllus, Arachnopsita, Longuripes, and Prolonguripes; and (3) Prolonguripes is secondarily epigean, having reverted to life above ground. The occurrence of Araneagryllus gen. nov. in amber indicates that it was not troglobitic, but was instead more likely to have been straminicolous, living on the ground and foraging amongst leaf litter. Araneagryllus gen. nov. possesses a number of characters that are usually considered to be adaptive to a troglobitic life history, suggesting that many so-called troglobiomorphies are not adaptations to life in caves, but are instead likely to have been exaptive.
- Dominican amber
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
- Animal Science and Zoology