Taxonomic review and phylogenetic inference elucidate the evolutionary history of Mesozoic Procercopidae, with new data from the Cretaceous Jehol Biota of NE China (Hemiptera, Cicadomorpha)
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The Mesozoic family Procercopidae is widely treated as the ancient group of Cercopoidea and a transitional unit to recent lineages, but its evolution and diversity are vague due to fragmentary fossil record and confusing taxonomic history. Herein, an extensive taxonomic review of Procercopidae is presented and some new fossils are reported from the Lower Cretaceous Yixian Formation of NE China. As a result, Chengdecercopis Hong, 1983 is transferred from Procercopidae to Sinoalidae; Procercopis longipennis Becker-Migdisova, 1962 and P shawanensis Zhang, Wang and Zhang, 2003 are transferred to Procercopina Martynov, 1937, resulting in Procercopina longipennis (Becker-Migdisova, 1962), comb. n. and P shawanensis (Zhang, Wang and Zhang, 2003), comb. n.; Luanpingia senjituensis Hong, 1984 is transferred to Stellularis Chen, Yao and Ren, 2015, leading to Stellulari senjituensis (Hong, 1984), comb. n.; Anthoscytina macula Hu, Yao and Ren, 2014 is transferred to Sinocercopis Hong, 1982, and Sunoscytinopteris (Scytinopteridae) and Cathaycixius (Cixiidae) are treated as junior homonym names of Sinocercopis, leading to Sinocercopis macula (Hu, Yao and Ren, 2014), comb. n., S lushangfenensis (Hong, 1984), comb. n., S pustulosis (Ren, 1995), comb. n., and S trinervis (Ren, 1995), comb. n. Additionally, two new species are erected: Stellularis bineuris Chen and Wang, sp. n. and S minutus Chen and Wang, sp. n. Our cladistic analysis based on wing (tegmen and hind wing) characteristics recovers the high-level relationships within Cercopoidea: Sinoalidae + (Procercopidae + (Cercopionidae + modern cercopoids)). Within the family Procercopidae, the cladistic analysis reveals that the Middle to Late Jurassic Titanocercopis and Jurocercopis and the Cretaceous Cretocercopis occupy the basal position, and a gradual change in wing venation can be recognized from the Early Jurassic Procercopis and Procercopina to the Jurassic Anthoscytina, and then to the Cretaceous Stellularis and Sinocercopis. The two Cretaceous genera, sharing wing traits with extant cercopoids, likely represent transitional forms between Procercopidae and recent Cercopoidea; however, they are very similar to their Jurassic relatives in body structures, suggesting it is applicable to attribute them to Procercopidae. Furthermore, our analysis suggests that the extinction of Procercopidae and the origin and early diversification of modern Cercopoidea approximately coincided with the rise and explosive radiation of angiosperms in the late Early Cretaceous and onwards.