Classifying fossil Darwin wasps (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) with geometric morphometrics of fore wings.

Viertler, Alexandra; Baur, Hannes; Spasojevic, Tamara; Mennecart, Bastien; Klopfstein, Seraina (2022). Classifying fossil Darwin wasps (Hymenoptera: Ichneumonidae) with geometric morphometrics of fore wings. PLoS ONE, 17(11), e0275570. Public Library of Science 10.1371/journal.pone.0275570

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Linking fossil species to the extant diversity is often a difficult task, and the correct interpretation of character evidence is crucial for assessing their taxonomic placement. Here, we make use of geometric morphometrics of fore wings to help classify five fossil Darwin wasps from the Early Eocene Fur Formation in Denmark into subfamilies and often tribes. We compile a reference dataset with 342 fore wings of nine extant subfamilies and nine relevant fossil species. Since geometric morphometrics was mostly ignored in the past in Darwin wasp classification, the dataset is first used to examine differences and similarities in wing venation among subfamilies. In a next step, we used the reference dataset to inform the classification of the fossil species, which resulted in the description of one new genus and five new species, Crusopimpla weltii sp. nov., Ebriosa flava gen. et sp. nov., Entypoma? duergari sp. nov., Lathrolestes? zlatorog sp. nov., and Triclistus bibori sp. nov., in four different subfamilies. Carefully assessing data quality, we show that the fore wing venation of fossil Darwin wasps is surprisingly suitable to assign them to a subfamily or even lower taxonomic level, especially when used in conjunction with characters from other parts of the body to narrow down a candidate set of potential subfamilies and tribes. Our results not only demonstrate a fast and useful approach to inform fossil classification but provide a basis for future investigations into evolutionary changes in fore wings of ichneumonids. The high informativeness of wing venation for classification furthermore could be harvested for phylogenetic analyses, which are otherwise often hampered by homoplasy in this parasitoid wasp family.

Item Type:

Journal Article (Original Article)


08 Faculty of Science > Department of Biology > Institute of Ecology and Evolution (IEE)

UniBE Contributor:

Baur, Hannes, Klopfstein, Seraina


500 Science > 570 Life sciences; biology




Public Library of Science




Pubmed Import

Date Deposited:

18 Nov 2022 16:51

Last Modified:

05 Dec 2022 16:28

Publisher DOI:


PubMed ID:





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