Date:

Insects already had a variety of defense strategies in the Cretaceous

Examinations of amber have revealed that insect larvae had already developed a diverse array of defensive tactics to shield themselves from predators 100 million years ago.

In the early stages of insect life, their roles in ecosystems are crucial. They participate in the decomposition of deceased organisms and wood, contributing to soil formation and the recycling of different elements.

Additionally, they serve as a primary food source for numerous larger creatures like birds and mammals. Consequently, many insect larvae have evolved various structures and methods to mitigate the risk of being preyed upon. These adaptations encompass characteristics such as spines, hairs, camouflage, and concealment, among others. Over millions of years, a wide spectrum of such defensive strategies has emerged.

Researchers at LMU, the University of Greifswald, and the University of Rostock scrutinized exceptionally well-preserved fossils from Burmese amber. Their study demonstrated the diverse forms of anti-predator mechanisms that were already present in insect larvae during the Cretaceous period, dating back 100 million years. Notable examples include the tactics employed by lacewing larvae, which carried diverse plant and animal materials on their backs to blend in, and the imitation of certain plant parts to deceive predators.

Professor Carolin Haug, the lead author and a zoologist at the Faculty of Biology, highlighted an extraordinary finding: the discovery of the oldest known larva of a scorpionfly, possessing specialized hairs on its back for affixing camouflage material. Haug also mentioned sawfly larvae that inhabited leaves, constructing tunnels as they fed on the thin leaf interior.

The research, published in the journal iScience, illustrates that insect larvae possessed a wide range of defensive strategies 100 million years ago. Haug emphasized that studying past diversity and the evolution and disappearance of various morphologies aids in comprehending these processes, particularly crucial in the context of the ongoing biodiversity crisis.

Header Image Credit : Shutterstock

DinosaurDaily
DinosaurDaily
"DinosaurDaily" is your premier destination for the latest and most fascinating updates in paleontology, specifically centered around the captivating world of dinosaurs. Immerse yourself in a rich tapestry of news articles, insightful features, and captivating discoveries brought to you by leading experts and researchers in the field.

Mobile Application

spot_img

Related Articles

First discovery of a tyrannosaur skeleton with well-preserved stomach contents

The Tyrannosauridae family, colossal carnivorous dinosaurs reigning over terrestrial ecosystems around 80-66 million years ago during the Late...

Flowers were more diverse 100 million years ago

A group of international researchers, including botanists from the University of Vienna, Austria, has conducted a comprehensive analysis of fossilized flowers, comparing their morphological variety with that of present-day species.

Extinct marine creatures hidden in Thai sanctuary

Ten previously undiscovered species of trilobites, concealed for approximately 490 million years within an under-explored area of Thailand, may represent crucial elements in unraveling the complex puzzle of ancient world geography.

Researchers discover a new marine reptile that lived about 250 million years ago

A joint scientific team from Poland and China documented a new marine reptile that thrived approximately 250 million years ago in present-day China.

Researchers explain the coexistence of animal and plant forms from approximately 427 million years ago

Scholars from the University of Warsaw and the Polish Academy of Sciences elucidated the enigmatic coexistence of animal and plant life forms within the coastal sea shallows around 427 million years ago.

Pliosaurs were larger much earlier than previously thought

Pliosaurs, a subset within the plesiosaur group, were found to attain remarkable sizes far earlier than previously believed, as indicated by research conducted by an international team, including a scientist affiliated with the Polish Academy of Sciences. This discovery provides new insights into the evolutionary trajectory of these formidable oceanic predators.

Microfossils discovered by University of Leicester scientist date back half a billion years

A recent discovery by a University of Leicester scientist has unveiled a novel fossil type shedding light on...

Genomes of enigmatic tusk shells provide new insights into early Molluscan evolution

Accurate phylogenetic trees serve as essential tools in evolutionary and comparative biology. However, the sudden emergence of major animal...

Membership Affiliations