False Blister Beetles and the Expansion of Gymnosperm-Insect Pollination Modes before Angiosperm Dominance07 Mar 2017
During the mid-Cretaceous, angiosperms diversified from several nondiverse lineages to their current global domination [ 1 ], replacing earlier gymnosperm lineages [ 2 ]. Several hypotheses explain this extensive radiation [ 3 ], one of which involves proliferation of insect pollinator associations in the transition from gymnosperm to angiosperm dominance. However, most evidence supports gymnosperm–insect pollinator associations, buttressed by direct evidence of pollen on insect bodies, currently established for four groups: Thysanoptera (thrips), Neuroptera (lacewings), Diptera (flies), and now Coleoptera (beetles). Each group represents a distinctive pollination mode linked to a unique mouthpart type and feeding guild [ 4–9 ].