1. Ecology
  2. Evolutionary Biology
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Lichen mimesis in mid-Mesozoic lacewings

  1. Hui Fang
  2. Conrad C Labandeira
  3. Yiming Ma
  4. Bingyu Zheng
  5. Dong Ren
  6. Xinli Wei  Is a corresponding author
  7. Jiaxi Liu  Is a corresponding author
  8. Yongjie Wang  Is a corresponding author
  1. Capital Normal University, China
  2. Smithsonian Institute, United States
  3. Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, China
Research Article
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Cite this article as: eLife 2020;9:e59007 doi: 10.7554/eLife.59007

Abstract

Animals mimicking other organisms or using camouflage to deceive predators are vital survival strategies. Modern and fossil insects can simulate diverse objects. Lichens are an ancient symbiosis between a fungus and an alga or a cyanobacterium that sometimes have a plant-like appearance and occasionally are mimicked by modern animals. Nevertheless, lichen models are almost absent in fossil record of mimicry. Here, we provide the earliest fossil evidence of a mimetic relationship between the moth lacewing mimic Lichenipolystoechotes gen. nov. and its co-occurring fossil lichen model Daohugouthallus ciliiferus. We corroborate the lichen affinity of D. ciliiferus and document this mimetic relationship by providing structural similarities and detailed measurements of the mimic’s wing and correspondingly the model’s thallus. Our discovery of lichen mimesis predates modern lichen-insect associations by 165 million years, indicating that during the mid-Mesozoic, the lichen-insect mimesis system was well established and provided lacewings with highly honed survival strategies.

Article and author information

Author details

  1. Hui Fang

    College of Life Sciences and Academy for Multidisciplinary Studies, Capital Normal University, Beijing, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  2. Conrad C Labandeira

    Smithsonian Institute, Washington, United States
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  3. Yiming Ma

    College of Life Sciences and Academy for Multidisciplinary Studies, Capital Normal University, Beijing, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  4. Bingyu Zheng

    College of Life Sciences and Academy for Multidisciplinary Studies, Capital Normal University, Beijing, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  5. Dong Ren

    College of Life Sciences and Academy for Multidisciplinary Studies, Capital Normal University, Beijing, China
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  6. Xinli Wei

    State Key Laboratory of Mycology, Institute of Microbiology, Chinese Academy of Sciences, Beijing, China
    For correspondence
    weixl@im.ac.cn
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  7. Jiaxi Liu

    College of Life Sciences and Academy for Multidisciplinary Studies, Capital Normal University, Beijing, China
    For correspondence
    liu-jiax@263.net
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
  8. Yongjie Wang

    College of Life Sciences and Academy for Multidisciplinary Studies, Capital Normal University, Beijing, China
    For correspondence
    wangyjosmy@foxmail.com
    Competing interests
    The authors declare that no competing interests exist.
    ORCID icon "This ORCID iD identifies the author of this article:" 0000-0003-1397-8481

Funding

National Natural Science Foundation of China (31970383)

  • Yongjie Wang

National Natural Science Foundation of China (31730087,41688103)

  • Dong Ren

National Natural Science Foundation of China (31770022)

  • Xinli Wei

Natural Science Foundation of Beijing Municipality (5192002)

  • Yongjie Wang

Academy for Multidisciplinary Studies of Capital Normal University

  • Dong Ren
  • Yongjie Wang

Capacity Building for Sci-Tech Innovation - Fundamental Scientific Research Funds (19530050144)

  • Yongjie Wang

Program for Changjiang Scholars and Innovative Research Team in University (IRT-17R75)

  • Dong Ren

Support Project of High Level Teachers in Beijing Municipal Universities (IDHT20180518)

  • Dong Ren

Graduate Student Program for International Exchange and Joint Supervision at Capital Normal University (028175534000,028185511700)

  • Hui Fang

The funders had no role in study design, data collection and interpretation, or the decision to submit the work for publication.

Reviewing Editor

  1. George H Perry, Pennsylvania State University, United States

Publication history

  1. Received: May 16, 2020
  2. Accepted: July 27, 2020
  3. Accepted Manuscript published: July 29, 2020 (version 1)

Copyright

This is an open-access article, free of all copyright, and may be freely reproduced, distributed, transmitted, modified, built upon, or otherwise used by anyone for any lawful purpose. The work is made available under the Creative Commons CC0 public domain dedication.

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