|Checklist of the Collembola: Paleontology|
Kenneth A. Christiansen,
Department of Biology, Grinnell College, PO Box V3, Grinnell, IA 50112-0806, USA
Frans Janssens, Department of Biology, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, B-2020, Belgium
Two extinct species are reported from the Paleozoic: Rhyniella praecursor Hirst & Maulik, 1926 from the Lower Devonian Rhynie Chert of Scotland (Siegenian period 397-391 mya (Westoll, 1977, cited from D'Haese, 2003:563), and Permobrya mirabilis Riek, 1976 from the Upper Permian of South Africa.
27 extinct species are reported from the Mesozoic:
Grinnellia ventis Christiansen & Nascimbene, 2006:320, Sminthuricinus deceptus Christiansen & Nascimbene, 2006:323, Mucrovirga incompleta Christiansen & Nascimbene, 2006:326, Sminthurconus grimaldi Christiansen & Nascimbene, 2006:329, Villusisotoma brevis Christiansen & Nascimbene, 2006:335, Villusisotoma longa Christiansen & Nascimbene, 2006:336, Proisotoma pettersonae Christiansen & Nascimbene, 2006:340, Burmisotoma lamellifera Christiansen & Nascimbene, 2006:342, Protoisotoma burma Christiansen & Nascimbene, 2006:343, Propachyotoma conica Christiansen & Nascimbene, 2006:344, Protodesoria granda Christiansen & Nascimbene, 2006:346, Protodontella minicornis Christiansen & Nascimbene, 2006:350, Praentomobrya avita Christiansen & Nascimbene, 2006:356, Cretacentomobrya burma Christiansen & Nascimbene, 2006:357, from Mid Cretaceous amber of Myanmar (Burma);
Pseudosminthurides stoechus Sánchez-García & Engel, 2016:4, Cretokatianna bucculenta Sánchez-García & Engel, 2016:7, Sphyrotheciscus senectus Sánchez-García & Engel, 2016:9, Archeallacma dolichopoda Sánchez-García & Engel, 2016:12, Katiannasminthurus xenopygus Sánchez-García & Engel, 2016:16, from Mid Cretaceous amber of Spain;
Protentomobrya walkeri Folsom, 1937 from Cretaceous amber of Canada;
Oncobrya decepta Christiansen & Pike, 2002, Entomocerus mirus Christiansen & Pike, 2002, Protoisotoma micromucra Christiansen & Pike, 2002, Pseudoxenylla fovealis Christiansen & Pike, 2002, Bellingeria cornua Christiansen & Pike, 2002, Brevimucronus anomalus Christiansen & Pike, 2002, Keratopygos megalos Christiansen & Pike, 2002 from Upper Cretaceous amber of Canada.
Direct fossil evidence of Collembola before the Devonian is lacking (Lehmann & Hillmer, 1983 cited from Hopkin, 1997:23). The discovery of coprolites (fossil faeces) in Upper Silurian rocks of 412 million years in age, which could be derived from springtails (Edwards, Selden, Richardson & Axe, 1995), suggests that Collembola were an important component of the earliest terrestrial ecosystems (cited from Hopkin, 1997:23).
Rhyniella praecursor Hirst & Maulik, 1926, the oldest known
collembolan fossil from the Devonian red sandstone Rhynie chert beds,
Scotland, resembles extant Collembola up to such an extent that this
might be an indication that Collembola reached their evolutionary
climax already 400 million years ago.
Tillyard (1928) concluded that Collembola are primary, ancestral,
and archaic terrestrial arthropodans and not forms readapted by retrograde
evolution as claimed by Handlirsch (1908) (cited from Handschin, 1955:41,49).
Collembola are living fossils (Handschin, 1955:49; Thibaud, 1970:188), relicts with halted or slowed down evolution (Thibaud, 1970:188).
There are a number of puzzling things about the fossil record of Collembola but three stand out.
The first is the rarity of Collembola in amber deposits. In studies with extant arboreal arthropod faunas, Collembola are usually found in both temperate and tropical forests and typically in great abundance. Strangely no Collembola have been found in many insect-rich amber faunas the world over. This includes a French deposit which consists mostly soil and litter organisms. In spite of this, as of the last compilation, the number of known extinct genera of Collembola found in the Cretaceous (24) is quite comparable to most groups of insects and is larger than many (Carpenter, 1992).
The second is that while all save one of the genera known from the Cretaceous and earlier are extinct, none of the genera from the Eocene on are extinct.
The third is that while Entomobryoidea are a very minor part of the Mesozoic arboreal fauna they are a very dominant segment of the Cenozoic and modern arboreal faunas (See Table 1).
|Group||Mid Cretaceous||Late Cretaceous||Eocene||Miocene||Pleistocene||Average Recent arboreal|
|Poduroidea||26, 24%||13, 15%||5, 1%||0||2, 13%||5%|
|Symphypleona||41, 38%||6, 7%||60, 14%||2, 2%||1, 7%||14, 4%|
|Entomobryoidea||4, 4%||1, 1%||284, 65%||95, 78%||6, 40%||73.9%|
|Isotomidae||36, 33%||58, 69%||13, 3%||25, 20%||4, 27%||3.9%|
|Tomoceridae||1, 1%||3, 4%||36, 8%||0||1, 7%||2.8%|