Fossil amoebae (Hemiarcherellidae fam. nov.) from Albian (Cretaceous) amber of France



    1. Centre de Bio-Archéologie et d’Ecologie (UMR 5059 CNRS/Université Montpellier 2/EPHE/INRAP), Institut de Botanique, 163 Rue Auguste Broussonet, 34090 Montpellier, France
    2. Université Montpellier 2, Place Eugéne Bataillon, 34095 Montpellier, France; e-mail:
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Abstract:  Two extraordinarily well-preserved testate amoebae are described from Late Albian age amber from south-western France. The specimens are attributed to a new family, the Hemiarcherellidae fam. nov., and are described as Hemiarcherella christellae gen. et sp. nov. The amoebae described herein originate from highly fossiliferous amber pieces. Based on syninclusions, Hemiarcherella christellae was a soil-dwelling organism, probably an active bacterivore. This taxon represents the third species of testate amoebae described from mid-Cretaceous French amber. Analysis of this fossil amoeba fauna illustrates the uniqueness of mid-Cretaceous French amber deposits. Indeed, most amoebae found in amber have been assigned to modern species, corroborating the hypothesis of morphological stasis in different microbial lineages. However, the well-preserved amoebae fauna found in French amber can be distinguished clearly from modern species and help us to better understand the fossil record of these organisms.