Skip to content

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)

Chinese insect could blend into surroundings by resembling a stick

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.

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.

Highlights

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)
3/20/2014 (3 years ago)

Published in Green

Keywords: Stick insect, chameleonic, discovery


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."

Light a virtual candle -- by going here!

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.

---


'Help give every student and teacher Free resources for a world-class moral Catholic education'


Copyright 2017 - Distributed by THE CALIFORNIA NETWORK

Pope Francis Prayer Intentions for JUNE 2017
National Leaders.
That national leaders may firmly commit themselves to ending the arms trade, which victimizes so many innocent people.


Comments


More Green

Killer supervolcano under Yellowstone stirs as 500 earthquakes hit park Watch

Image of The magma plume that feeds the supervolcano under Yellowstone is also responsible for the park's incredible beauty.

More than 500 earthquakes have hit Yellowstone as the supervolcano under the park recharges with magma. The recent spate of quakes, which ... continue reading


Will Oroville Spillway Gates Fail in Heavy Flows? Design Flaws & Fixes Risk Gate Binding? Watch

Image of The destroyed Oroville dam spillway.

Has DWR missed for over 40 years the accumulation of mud, debris, and silt that ended up jamming a Radial Gate?  For many years ... continue reading


Southwest broils under first heatwave of the year, Death Valley to see 124 or higher Watch

Image of The American Southwest is baking under the first heatwave of the year. The hottest surface temperature recorded on Earth was 134 degrees in Death Valley on July 10, 1913. The secret to the record heat is that Death Valley is below sea level and temperatures rise as air sinks lower.

A massive heatwave is baking the American southwest with temperatures across the region spiking above 110 degrees and even 120 degrees in ... continue reading


The Big One could be even BIGGER as scientists model worst case scenario Watch

Image of Most models of the quake assume a rupture from Palm Springs to the Tejon Pass, yet the rupture could extend much further.

Further research into the San Andreas fault has revealed the fault is capable of producing a more powerful quake than predicted. With the ... continue reading


On Aug. 21, millions of Americans will see something incredible. Will you be one of them? Watch

Image of On Aug. 21, millions of Americans will see their first total solar eclipse.

Millions of Americans plan to view the August 21, total solar eclipse which will sweep across the nation from Oregon to South Carolina. But ... continue reading


Never Miss any Updates!

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers.

Catholic Online Logo

Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. All materials contained on this site, whether written, audible or visual are the exclusive property of Catholic Online and are protected under U.S. and International copyright laws, © Copyright 2017 Catholic Online. Any unauthorized use, without prior written consent of Catholic Online is strictly forbidden and prohibited.