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New record of Mastotermitidae from Fonseca Basin, Eocene-Oligocene boundary of southeastern Brazil


The first representative of the genus Mastotermes Froggatt, 1897 from the Cenozoic of the South America is described here based on seven specimens from the Fonseca Formation, Eocene-Oligocene boundary, Minas Gerais State, southeastern Brazil. Today, Mastotermes is geographically restricted to northern Australia, with only one relict species, Mastotermes darwiniensis Froggatt, 1897. However, its fossil record clearly shows a global distribution, with species ranging from the Cretaceous of Myanmar, Russia, Mongolia and China, throughout Cenozoic of mainland Europe and Miocene of Africa, Mesoamerica and the Caribbean. Along with Spagotermes costalimai Emerson, 1965, Mastotermes brasiliensis sp. n. is the second fossil termite recorded in the Fonseca strata. This discovery extends the paleo-distribution of this genus into Neotropical South America during the Paleogene.

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This study was financed in part by the Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior - Brasil (CAPES) - Finance Code 001. FIB is grateful for your doctorate scholarship (Coordenação de Aperfeiçoamento de Pessoal de Nível Superior, Brasil – CAPES, process 88882.454892/2019-01). ODS is supported by a Fellowship from the Brazilian National Council for Scientific and Technological Development (CNPq, process 307990/2017-6).

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FIB designed research, analyzed data and wrote the manuscript; MM made substantial contributions to the conception or design of the work, interpreted the data, contributed to writing the manuscript; ODS revised the work, approved the version to be published critically for important intellectual content, approved the version to be published.

Correspondence to Francisco Irineudo Bezerra.

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Bezerra, F.I., Mendes, M. & De Souza, O. New record of Mastotermitidae from Fonseca Basin, Eocene-Oligocene boundary of southeastern Brazil. Biologia (2020).

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  • Fossil insect
  • Mastotermitid
  • Paleogene
  • Paleobiogeography
  • Paleoclimatology