Fossil Male Insect Wooed Mates with Sexy Legs

National Geographic News

Damselflies trapped in amber have given scientists a view of courtship rituals performed 100 million years ago. For more than a hundred million years, these three male damselflies have been waiting for their damsels. Recently found preserved in Cretaceous-era amber, they now offer rare insight into the way damselflies woo mates, according to the scientists who found the creatures. That's because pod-shaped segments on the insects' legs hint at a similar but more elaborate courtship ritual than the one practiced by living species. Mating in modern damselflies and their close kin, the dragonflies, has been described as a complex mix of cooperation and conflict.


The world's biggest creepy-crawlies revealed

Daily Mail - Science & tech

Where would one find a beetle so strong it can break pencils clean in half with its jaw? Here, MailOnline reveals where holidaymakers are most likely to encounter such creatures - and other gigantic creepy-crawlies. They are the world's biggest, strongest, longest and heaviest spiders and bugs. The giant weta is endemic to New Zealand and in some cases can weigh more than a mouse, making it the world's heaviest insect In some cases the giant weta weighs more than a mouse, making it the heaviest insect in the world - and unable to jump. The giant weta has ears on the knees of its front legs.


See the best new species discovered over the past year

New Scientist

How many species are there on Earth? The best guess is 8.74 million but estimates vary wildly and there is still no consensus. What's more, most types of life could still be unknown to us: close to 90 per cent of land and marine species are thought to be awaiting discovery – though most of those are likely to be tiny. Every year, we add thousands of new species to the roster – some of them already extinct. Here are a few of the past year's most remarkable additions, from a compilation by environmentalists at the State University of New York.


Fossil Shows What Insect Romance Looked Like In Ancient Times

International Business Times

Short of inventing a time machine, we are powerless to stop certain things from simply being lost to history -- things like how accents sounded in societies that existed before audio recordings, or what it looked like when extinct species from millions of years ago mated with one another. Then again, maybe we can see ancient animals falling in love. This photograph and line drawing of an ancient insect specimen, Yijenplatycnemis huangi, reveals prehistoric courtship behaviors. Researchers from the Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology have described a courtship ritual that has been frozen in time, specifically fossilized in amber, that gives us a window into prehistoric romance. It's about an insect family called odonata, which includes dragonflies and damselflies.


New species of damselfly named after David Attenborough

Daily Mail - Science & tech

A new species of damselfly dating back more than 70 million years has become the latest creature to be named after veteran TV naturalist Sir David Attenborough. The discovery was made in the Hukawng Valley of Kachin Province in Myanmar, where the fossilised insect was found in a piece of mid-Cretaceous Burmese amber. The full scientific name for the new species, belonging to a group more commonly known as shadowdamsels, is Mesosticta davidattenboroughi. A new species of damselfly dating back more than 70 million years has become the latest creature to be named after veteran TV naturalist Sir David Attenborough (left). Mesosticta davidattenboroughi joins a long list of animals which have been named after Sir David, including a weevil and fossil species of a plesiosaur and a fish.