Science News

4 new long-lived neurological proboscis insects discovered that lived 100 million years ago

In a study published in Cretaceous Research, a group of researchers from the Russian Academy of Sciences announces the discovery of four new species, and its four new genera, of extinct insects found fossilized in amber.

These are four insects with proboscis that fed by sucking from the first flowers of angiosperms almost 100 million years ago. They were found in pieces of amber from the Upper Cretaceous in northern Myanmar. The researchers included them in the group of Paradoxosisyrinae, a subfamily of sisirids (sisyridae).

According to Russian researchers, these insects used their proboscis to suck nectar from plants. However, in the past scientists had carried out in-depth studies of this organ of Paradoxosisyrinae, understanding that it was shorter than other species of insects, which led them to suck less nectar from the flowers and that most likely contributed to the evolutionary failure and to the extension of the neurotters (Neuroptera) to a long proboscis.

Precisely the discovery of these four new species of Paradoxosisyrinae in amber expands the knowledge we can now have of this group of insects and probably also corroborates the hypothesis described above. One of the species has been called Buratina truncate , in honor of Buratino, the Russian analogue of Pinocchio.

This flying insect was covered, like the other newly discovered species, with many hairs, a condition that is observed today in today’s pollinators. It is precisely these hairs that allow pollen grains to be transported with more agility.

However, precisely because of the problem described above related to the proboscis, the insects of the Paradoxosisyrinae group could suck nectar only from shallow flowers. The other three species classified are Sidorchukatia gracilisProtosiphoniella anthophila and Khobotun elephantinus.