Despite their importance in breaking down lignified tissue today, much is still unknown about the role of mites in the fossil record, especially with reference to the Paleozoic–Mesozoic transition. This study examines permineralized peat from three localities in the central Transantarctic Mountains, ranging in age from Permian to Jurassic, for evidence of diversity and abundance of wood-boring mites. Evidence of mites, in the form of coprolites and tunnels in wood and other tissues, was found at all three localities; the Triassic site included more than 10 times as many wood borings as the Permian site. Our results supplement prior evidence of wood-boring mites during the Mesozoic and thereby fill in the known geologic range of this plant/animal interaction.
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Vol. 78 • No. 6