Reinvestigation of Protelytron permianum (Insecta; Early Permian; USA) as an example for applying reflectance transformation imaging to insect imprint fossils
We reinvestigated the holotype of Protelytron permianum, one of the earliest putative stem-dermapteran (i.e. stem-earwig). We recurred to reflectance transformation imaging (RTI) to deliver exhaustive and interactive photographic data. We were able to ascertain the occurrence of broadenings located along veins of the hind wing vannus and forming an arc, as well as a series of radiating folds, alternatively concave and convex. Such an organization is diagnostic of Dermaptera, in which it is indicative of hind wing folding mechanisms, particularly elaborated in these insects. We provide a foldable, paper model of the hind wing. Based on the case presented herein we anticipate that RTI process will be a major upheaval in the documentation of fossil insects preserved as imprints.