The First Ant-Termite Syninclusion in Amber with CT-Scan Analysis of Taphonomy

Abstract : We describe here a co-occurrence (i.e. a syninclusion) of ants and termites in a piece of Mexican amber (Totolapa deposit, Chiapas), whose importance is twofold. First, this finding suggests at least a middle Miocene antiquity for the modern, though poorly documented, relationship between Azteca ants and Nasutitermes termites. Second, the presence of a Neivamyrmex army ant documents an in situ raiding behaviour of the same age and within the same community, confirmed by the fact that the army ant is holding one of the termite worker between its mandibles and by the presence of a termite with bitten abdomen. In addition, we present how CT-scan imaging can be an efficient tool to describe the topology of resin flows within amber pieces, and to point out the different states of preservation of the embedded insects. This can help achieving a better understanding of taphonomical processes, and tests ethological and ecological hypotheses in such complex syninclusions.
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David Coty, Cédric Aria, Romain Garrouste, Patricia Wils, Frédéric Legendre, et al.. The First Ant-Termite Syninclusion in Amber with CT-Scan Analysis of Taphonomy. PLoS ONE, Public Library of Science, 2014, 9 (8), pp.e104410. ⟨10.1371/journal.pone.0104410⟩. ⟨mnhn-02168447⟩

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