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 […]

Did the Malaria Parasite First Evolve in the Insect Vector or the Vertebrate Host?

By John P. Roche Malaria is a terrible problem, killing nearly half a million people per year, mostly in sub-Saharan Africa. This serious disease is caused by a protozoan parasite of the genus Plasmodium, which is spread to humans by mosquitoes of the genus Anopheles. In the Anopheles mosquito, the life cycle of the parasite […]

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, […]

Fossilized Tick Provides Evidence that Lyme Disease is Millions of Years Older than Humans

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that there about 300,000 cases of Lyme disease in the U.S. each year. The stealthy, often misdiagnosed disease was discovered nearly 40 years ago in a town called Lyme, Connecticut, which is how it got its name. However, newly discovered fossilized ticks show that the bacteria […]