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Baranov, Viktor A.; Wang, Yinan; Gasparic, Rok; Wedmann, Sonja and Haug, Joachim T. (2020): Eco-morphological diversity of larvae of soldier flies and their closest relatives in deep time. In: Peerj, Vol. 8, e10356

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Stratiomyomorpha (soldier flies and allies) is an ingroup of Diptera, with a fossil record stretching back to the Early Cretaceous (the Barremian, about 125 MYA). Stratiomyomorpha includes at least 3,000 species in the modern fauna, with many species being crucial for ecosystem functions, especially as saprophages. Larvae of many stratiomyomorphans are especially important as scavengers and saproxyls in modern ecosystems. Yet, fossil larvae of the group are extremely scarce. Here we present 23 new records of fossil stratiomyomorphan larvae, representing six discrete morphotypes. Specimens originate from Cretaceous amber from Myanmar, Eocene Baltic amber, Miocene Dominican amber, and compression fossils from the Eocene of Messel (Germany) and the Miocene of Slovenia. We discuss the implications of these new records for our understanding of stratiomyomorphan ecomorphology in deep time as well as their palaeoecology.

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