Insect herbivore and fungal communities on Agathis (Araucariaceae) from the latest Cretaceous to Recent

Michael P. Donovan, Peter Wilf, Ari Iglesias, N. Rubén Cúneo, Conrad C. Labandeira

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Agathis (Araucariaceae) is a genus of broadleaved conifers that today inhabits lowland to upper montane rainforests of Australasia and Southeast Asia. A previous report showed that the earliest known fossils of the genus, from the early Paleogene and possibly latest Cretaceous of Patagonian Argentina, host diverse assemblages of insect and fungal associations, including distinctive leaf mines. Here, we provide complete documentation of the fossilized Agathis herbivore communities from Cretaceous to Recent, describing and comparing insect and fungal damage on Agathis across four latest Cretaceous to early Paleogene time slices in Patagonia with that on 15 extant species. Notable fossil associations include various types of external foliage feeding, leaf mines, galls, and a rust fungus. In addition, enigmatic structures, possibly armored scale insect (Diaspididae) covers or galls, occur on Agathis over a 16-million-year period in the early Paleogene. The extant Agathis species, throughout the range of the genus, are associated with a diverse array of mostly undescribed damage similar to the fossils, demonstrating the importance of Agathis as a host of diverse insect herbivores and pathogens and their little-known evolutionary history.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)109-158
Number of pages50
StatePublished - 2023

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Agricultural and Biological Sciences (miscellaneous)
  • Plant Science

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