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

archaeomalthodes-rosetta

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

poinar-fig2

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

Atopopsyllus-cionus

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, […]

Oldest Rove Beetle in the Omaliini Tribe Found in French Amber

D-geminum

An international team of scientists from Spain, France, and the U.S. has discovered and described a rove beetle that is the oldest definitive member of the tribe Omaliini that has ever been found in amber. The discovery and description were made possible through the use of the propagation phase-contrast X-ray synchrotron imaging technique, which allows […]

New Pygmy Locust Discovered in Ancient Amber, Named after David Attenborough

Electrotettix-attenboroughi-wp

A pygmy locust — a tiny grasshopper the size of a rose thorn that lived 18-20 million years ago and fed on moss, algae, and fungi — has been discovered in 20-million-year-old amber that was found in the Dominican Republic more than 50 years ago. Scientists are still examining the amber collection, which will take […]

100-Million-Year-Old Assassin Fly Found in Ancient Amber

assassin-fly

Torsten Dikow, a research scientist at the Smithsonian Institution’s National Museum of Natural History, has discovered a new species of assassin fly in amber that is 100 million years old. The new fly, Burmapogon bruckschi, is described in an article in the journal American Museum Novitates. “The transparency of these amber fossils gives researchers a […]