The Permian is a pivotal time interval for the evolution of the terrestrial realm while the evolutionary dynamics of both floral and faunal turnover are poorly understood. Fossil evidence of plant–arthropod associations allows us to explore these confusions. In this paper, plant–arthropod interactions from the Wuchiapingian Qinglong plant assemblage in southwestern China are analysed. Fifty-one damage occurrences attributed to 19 damage types (DTs) from six functional feeding groups were recognised, consisting of hole feeding, margin feeding, surface feeding, piercing-and-sucking, oviposition, and galling. Although broadleaved gigantopterid laminae were less abundant than strap-shaped taeniopterid foliage, the former had more DT richness as well as DT frequency (occurrences based on presence-absence data) than those of the latter, indicating that herbivorous arthropods preferentially targeted broadleaved gigantopterid foliage and providing additional support for the apparency hypothesis. To explore the evolutionary dynamics of Permian plant–arthropod associations, data of DT community composition in the Qinglong and seven other Permian assemblages were analyzed using principal component analysis (PCA) and rank-abundance curve (RAC). PCA result shows that the Qinglong plant–arthropod associations displayed a damage-type spectrum with minimal affinity to those in the South China Kayitou and other assemblages, indicating that there was no compositional similarity of plant–arthropod associations in the Qinglong and other ecosystems. This pattern is probably related to different climatic zonation which resulted in local provincialism of plant–arthropod associations. RAC result shows that margin feeding was the dominant feeding modes during the Permian, suggesting there were a relatively high richness of margin-feeding culprits in these ecosystems.
Ma, F. J., Luo, D. D., Liu, S., Zhang, C. W., Wang, Q. J., Li, B. X., … He, X. (2023). Local provincialism of late Permian plant–arthropod associations in South Cathaysia: Evidence of arthropod-mediated damages in a Wuchiapingian assemblage of South China. Journal of Asian Earth Sciences, 254. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.jseaes.2023.105729