Termite as Pollinator? Fossil Specimen Captures the Act

termite in amber with milkweed flower

As far as insect reputations goes, termites are typically known as pests. They get little of the adulation heaped on their pollinator cousins. But a new discovery of a fossilized termite in amber might give reason to see termites in a different light. As reported in the Spring 2017 issue of American Entomologist, a termite […]

Beetle Fossil Nearly Doubles the Age of Known Parasites of Social Insects

Mesosymbion compactus

When ancient insects first evolved eusocial behavior and began forming colonies, it didn’t take long, paleontologically speaking, for parasites of those resource-rich colonies to evolve, as well. A newly discovered ancient species of beetle found preserved in amber dates this apparent parasitic behavior to at least 98.8 million years ago. In a paper published in […]

New Soldier Beetle Species Found in 99-million-year-old Amber

A new soldier beetle belonging to the family Cantharidae, the subfamily Malthininae and the tribe Malthodini has been discovered from Upper Cretaceous Burmese amber, which is about 99 million years old. A description of the extinct soldier beetle was recently published in the journal Cretaceous Research. Burmese amber, the important fossiliferous resin collected from Kachin […]

New Fossil Evidence Shows Beetles Pollinated Orchids Millions of Years Ago

By John P. Roche For flowering plants to reproduce sexually, they need to disperse pollen so that the male gametes in the pollen can reach and fertilize the egg in the plant embryo sac. Plants have evolved a variety of mechanisms to disperse pollen. Among them, orchids have evolved a mechanism using pollination structures called […]

New Flea Genus and Species Found in 20-million-year-old Amber

By Harvey Black Dr. George Poinar, Jr., an entomologist from Oregon State University, has found a fossilized flea the like of which he has never seen. Its basic characteristics are so strange, he says, that it deserves its own genus. And in fact, the name of the genus he has applied to the insect, Atopopsyllus, […]