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An Ancient Insects Courtship Ritual Has Been Well Preserved In Amber | Pest Control in New Jersey

Filed under: Pest Control in New Jersey — Tags: — New Jersey Pest Control @ 7:28 am March 24, 2017

An Ancient Insects Courtship Ritual Has Been Well Preserved In Amber | Pest Control in New Jersey

A one hundred million year old piece of amber was uncovered recently by researchers. This particular piece of ancient amber is unique in that it shows a courtship behavior with a fair amount of detail. The insect in question is known as a damselfly, and its mating dance has been immortalized within the amber. This marks the first time in history an ancient insect mating dance has been captured in amber.

The amber is extremely old as it dates back to the mid-cretaceous period, which was when dinosaurs roamed the earth. The fossil shows this extinct damselflies’ physical features with clarity, and although there are similarities between the fossilized damselfly and modern damselflies, the extinct damselflies features have caught the attention of many entomologists and insect enthusiasts around the world. For example, the fossilized damselfly shows an overtly expanded pod-like tibiae in the male. These same structures exist on the bodies of modern damselflies, and they are used to fend off predatory and attract mates. Modern damselflies mate and fight in the same way as the ancient damselfly, but the modern damselfly’s lower legs have developed to become much shorter.

Unlike modern damselflies, the ancient damselfly seemed to have eye-shaped spot on the midpoint of its hind leg. This eyespot is similar to eyespots found on butterflies. Organisms that possess these eyespots use them to intimidate vertebrate predators. The eyespot can also confuse predators by causing them to first attack the damselflies wings, which often give the damselflies enough time to escape the clutches of their confused enemy. Also, according to researchers Dr Zheng Daran and Professor Wang Bo, damselflies also, quite likely, use their eyespot to attract mates, similar to the function that eyespots serve on peacock feathers.

Have you ever seen a modern damselfly? What did it look like? Why do you think they evolved to look different from their extinct ancestors? What benefits could the modern damselfly have that its predecessor did not?