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parasitised feathered dinosaurs as revealed by Cretaceous amber assemblages

Penalver, E; Arillo, A; Delclos, X; Peris, D; Grimaldi, DA; Anderson, SR; Nascimbene, PC; Perez-de la Fuente, R

NATURE COMMUNICATIONS
2017
VL / 8 - BP / - EP /
abstract
Ticks are currently among the most prevalent blood-feeding ectoparasites, but their feeding habits and hosts in deep time have long remained speculative. Here, we report direct and indirect evidence in 99 million-year-old Cretaceous amber showing that hard ticks and ticks of the extinct new family Deinocrotonidae fed on blood from feathered dinosaurs, non-avialan or avialan excluding crown-group birds. A dagger Cornupalpatum burmanicum hard tick is entangled in a pennaceous feather. Two deinocrotonids described as dagger Deinocroton draculi gen. et sp. nov. have specialised setae from dermestid beetle larvae (hastisetae) attached to their bodies, likely indicating cohabitation in a feathered dinosaur nest. A third conspecific specimen is blood-engorged, its anatomical features suggesting that deinocrotonids fed rapidly to engorgement and had multiple gonotrophic cycles. These findings provide insight into early tick evolution and ecology, and shed light on poorly known arthropod-vertebrate interactions and potential disease transmission during the Mesozoic.
48th Global

AccesS level

DOAJ Gold, Green Published

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PROYECTO FINANCIADO POR PLAN NACIONAL DE INVESTIGACIÓN AGENCIA ESTATAL DE INVESTIGACIÓN, MINISTERIO DE CIENCIA E INNOVACIÓN. PID2019-109127RB-I00