Oldest known example of chameleonic insect found after 126 million years
By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
3/20/2014 (3 years ago)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
Many insects take on chameleonic aspects when they need to hide from predators. The "stick insect" can disguise itself by resembling a broken branch. Scientists have now uncovered the world's oldest known example of a stick insect in China, which waited 126 million years to be discovered.
One Malaysian variety of the stick insect is commonly known as Chan's megastick. It's the world's longest insect at about 22 inches long.
LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - An international team of scientists declared this week that they have discovered the fossil of an insect whose appearance mimicked that of a nearby plant, the oldest-known stick or leaf insect that used such natural trickery.
There are roughly 3,200 known species of stick and leaf insects, which are members of the insect order known as Phasmatodea, derived from the ancient Greek word for "phantom."
Sometimes referred to as a walking stick or a walking leaf, the species is among the most striking creatures in the insect world. This variety develops unusual shapes to camouflage themselves as vegetation to avoid detection by predators.
Some of this species have flattened, leaf-like shapes, with appropriate color. Others possess cylindrical bodies shaped like sticks or like bark.
One Malaysian variety, commonly known as Chan's megastick, is the world's longest insect at about 22 inches long.
The recently discovered insect, named Cretophasmomima melanogramma, was found in Liaoning province in northeastern China. The fossil was part of the Jehol rock formation that has yielded many stunningly detailed fossils of creatures like early birds and feathered dinosaurs.
Researchers realized that the insect looked remarkably like the leaf of a plant that grew in the same place at the time that was a relative of the Ginkgo tree.
The fossil also showed wings with parallel dark lines that, when the bug was in the resting position. This seemed to produce a tongue-like shape that could hide its abdomen. The plant had similar tongue-shaped leaves marked with multiple lines.
Researchers think the insect evolved to look like these leaves, at one point turning green and concealed itself from predators by mingling with the foliage.
Females of this insect were estimated at about 2.2 inches long and the males a bit smaller.
"Cretophasmomima melanogramma is one of the grand-cousins of today's stick and leaf insects," paleontologist Olivier Béthoux of the Center for Research on Paleobiodiversity and Paleoenvironments says.
Cretophasmomima melanogramma lived during the Cretaceous, the last of the three time periods that make up the Mesozoic Era, sometimes called the Age of Dinosaurs. The warm, wet environment held a large array of plants, dominated by conifers but also featuring relatives of the Gingko, cycas and others.
Copyright 2018 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK
Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for FEBRUARY 2018
Say 'No' to Corruption. That those who have material, political or spiritual power may resist any lure of corruption.
What happens when a city of four million people runs out of water? We are about to find out the hard way, thanks to an epic drought and ... continue reading
What is a super blue blood moon? LOS ANGELES, CA (California Network) - A blood moon is a lunar eclipse. A supermoon is when the moon ... continue reading
Is God sending a warning? Third megaquake in the year suggests 2018 could be very bad for earthquakes Watch
Residents of Kodiak, Alaska were awakened early Tuesday morning by a 7.9 magnitude quake in the Gulf of Alaska. The quake was powerful ... continue reading
The year 2018 has been predicted to be a year of major quakes by scientists, and the first major quake has struck on cue. A massive 7.6 ... continue reading
"If you can't breathe, nothing else matters," said Denise Breitbung in a study on ocean oxygen levels. Research recently published in the ... continue reading
by Catholic Online
- St. Simon: Saint of the Day for Sunday, February 18, 2018
- Daily Reading for Wednesday, February 21st, 2018 HD Video
- Daily Readings for Sunday, February 18, 2018
- 'Living Lent': Monday of the First Week of Lent - Day 5
- 'Living Lent': Tuesday of the First Week of Lent - Day 6
- Deadly Flu Season: Vaccine only 36 percent effective during worst ...
- Try this fun Lent Quiz today!
- Daily Reading for Tuesday, February 20th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Monday, February 19th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Sunday, February 18th, 2018 HD
- Daily Reading for Saturday, February 17th, 2018 HD
Learn about Catholic world
Inform - Inspire - Ignite
Catholic Online Saints
Your saints explained
Catholic Online Prayers
Prayers for every need
Catholic Online Bible
Complete bible online
Catholic Online News
Your news Catholic eye
Today's bible reading
Products and services we offer
Catholic Online Shopping
Catholic medals, gifts & books
The California Network
Inspiring streaming service
Learn the Catholic way
Teacher lesson plans & resources
Support Free Education
Tax deductible support Free education