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 […]

Hundred-Million-Year-Old Beetle Provides Clues to the Past


About 100 million years ago in present-day Myanmar, a tiny beetle flew into a coniferous tree and became engulfed in its resin. Over time, the resin fossilized into amber — with the beetle fully encased — resulting in one of the most spectacularly preserved ancient beetle specimens yet described. “For a beetle taxonomist and for […]

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, […]

Oldest Rove Beetle in the Omaliini Tribe Found in French Amber


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 […]

Video Recreates Walking Pattern of a 410-million-year-old Arachnid


A new video based on fossils of a 410-million-year-old arachnid uses computer animation to recreate the animal walking. The arachnid belonged to the extinct order Trigonotarbida, and was a member of the Devonian genus Palaeocharinus, which was one of the first predators on land. Researchers from the University of Manchester and the Museum für Naturkunde […]

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


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 […]

425-million-year-old Arthropod Found in England


Palaeobiologists at Oxford University have discovered a new fossil arthropod, christened Enalikter aphson, in 425-million-year-old rocks in Herefordshire, England. It belongs to an extinct group of marine-dwelling “short-great-appendage” arthropods, Megacheira, defined by their claw-like front limbs. The discovery and analysis of Enalikter aphson has given support to the notion that Megacheira came before the last […]

46 Million-Year-Old Blood Meal Found in Fossilized Mosquito


In an article called “Hemoglobin-derived porphyrins preserved in a Middle Eocene blood-engorged mosquito” in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, the authors describe “the fossil of a blood-engorged mosquito in oil shale from northwestern Montana.” “The existence of this rare specimen extends the existence of blood-feeding behavior in this family of insects 46 million […]