Video | They find a new insect that was trapped in amber 35 million years ago
A International research in which the Department of Zoology of the University of Granada participates has made it possible to discover Calliarcys antiquus, a species of insect not described to date, which belongs to the order of ephemer& ;ptera (or mayflies).
The specimen was located by Arnold Staniczek, from the State Museum of Natural History in Stuttgart (Germany),in a piece of Baltic amber with an estimated ageof between 35 and 47 million years old, reports the University of Granada.
The specialized microtomography work of the Professor of Zoology at the University of Granada, Javier Alba -Third, he allowed Obtain clear images of the insect for study and detailed description.
Plants such as conifers (and some legumes) protect themselves by exuding resin, a thick, sticky liquid, as a reaction to damage to the bark.
In this resin, insects are trapped. Frequently, something that has been happening for millions of years, which has caused many of them to be preserved inside the fossilized resin known as amber.
According to the University of Granada, there are amber deposits in different parts of the world, including northern Spain, but those in the Baltic are the most abundant.
In many cases, explains Alba-Tercedor, the conservation of the specimens inside the amber is excellent and the transparency of the material that surrounds them allows seeing through them. ;s and study them under the microscope in great detail.
But on other occasions, transparency is not good, as areas of opacity are formed that prevent certain details from being studied”, and in those cases, X-ray microtomography (a technique similar to the one used in hospitals to study patients' organs) is invaluable for studying fossil specimens preserved in amber.
When Arnold Staniczek, renowned mayfly specialist, observed The piece from the Baltic, this was completely transparent, but showed hyaline zones surrounding some areas, such as the end of the abdomen, just where the male reproductive system (genitalia) is located, essential to characterize and be able to distinguish some species from others.
In the microtomography unit of the Department of Zoology of the University of Granada, Alba-Tercedor reconstructed the the entire insect, including those areas that the opacity of the amber made it impossible to observe.
The participation of Roman Godunko, from the Institute of Entomology of the Czech Academy of Sciences, allowed To identify the undescribed species of mayflies, which belongs to the genus Calliarcys, whose first described species is found on the Iberian Peninsula.
The study completed with a DNA analysis of the current species of the genus.
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