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Wing venation pattern of Plecoptera (Insecta: Neoptera)


, : Wing venation pattern of Plecoptera (Insecta: Neoptera). Illiesia. 27 December; 19: 52-81

Some consider the order Plecoptera as the sister-group of all neopterous insects. Hence the interpretation of Plecoptera wing venation has critical implications for character polarization among basal neopterous taxa, i.e. polyneopterous insects, and especially for fossil taxa, mainly known after isolated wings. However, no consensus ever emerged from the previous interpretations, partly contradicting. This study provides a detailed morphological comparative study of the wing venation of the order Plecoptera, based on modern taxa. It reveals that 1) the arculus is not a posterior branch of the media but a secondarily strengthened crossvein, always present in hind wings and very generally in forewings; 2) the media is primitively two-branched in both wing pairs; 3) in hind wings the stems of the radius and the media are basally distinct, but a fusion of the posterior radius (RP) with the media (M) occurs distal to the wing base, both branches diverging further; and 4) the vannus is composed of branches belonging to the anterior analis sector (AA) only (i.e. the analis posterior and jugal areas are lacking). A new nomenclature is proposed for describing the branches of AA2. Character states presence of an arculus in both fore- and hind wings, media two-branched, and in hind wings, presence of fusion of RP with M are diagnostic of the order, based on outgroup comparison with other polyneopterous insects. Similarities are noticed between most basal Archaeorthoptera (i.e. insects close related to Orthoptera) and Plecoptera concerning the organization of the anal area, although an AP area is retained in the former and absent in the latter. Additionally, wing characters susceptible of being informative for the resolution of the inner phylogeny of the Plecoptera are proposed throughout the paper.

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