Ancestor of Jacobson beetle was also teeny tiny
C. Cai et al/Journal of Paleontology 2016
An amber collector in Germany has spotted the ancient remains of a beetle never before seen in the fossil record.
Two itty-bitty specimens, entombed in amber since the middle Eocene epoch some 54.5 million to 37 million years ago, represent a new species of Jacobson’s beetle, researchers report online March 28 in the Journal of Paleontology. The beetles, Derolathrus groehni, are, like their modern relatives, about as long as the width of a grain of rice.
MicroCT scans and other images revealed narrow bodies, a shiny brown exterior and two wispy featherlike wings protruding from the hindquarters, angled like the blades of a helicopter. The fossils look just like today’s Jacobson’s beetles, says study coauthor Chenyang Cai of the Chinese Academy of Sciences.