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New FrogHopper Genus and Species Discovered Through Fossil Insect Analysis


A new, extinct species of froghopper described from 100-million-year-old Burmese amber by George Poinar Jr. of Oregon State University. Credit: Oregon State University

A fossil arthropod buried in 100-million-year-old Burmese amber has been identified as a new genus and species of froghopper, better known today as an insect with enormous jumping ability in adulthood after a nymph stage that dies covered in a foamy liquid.

Oregon State University researcher George Poinar Jr., an international expert in the use of plant and animal life forms preserved in amber to learn about the biology and ecology of the distant past, and co-author Alex E. Brown published the findings in the journal life.

The authors classified the new mitten frog as Araeoanasillus leptosomus, from the Greek words for thin hair (araeos) and coarse hair (anasillos) in reference to the fern hairs (trichomes) attached to the specimen.

The frog family, Cercopoidea, contains five families extant today—Cercopoidae, Aphrophoridae, Clastopteridae, Epipygidae, and Machaerotidae—in addition to the extinct families Cercopionidae, Procercopidae, and Sinoalidae.

“Based on its diagnostic characteristics, our specimen appears to fall into the family Sinoalidae,” Poinar said.

Hopper frogs in the order Hemiptera. Known as “true bugs,” the order Hemiptera consists of more than 80,000 species including cicadas, aphids, leafhoppers, leafhoppers, bed bugs, and shield bugs.

Fossil insect identifier as a new genus, species of froghopper: froghopper

George Poinar Jr., of The Ohio State University, described a new extinct species of 100-million-year-old Burmese amber plug frog that feeds on ferns and ferns based on fern hairs found in and near the specimen. Credit: Oregon State University

The size of true insects varies widely, from as small as 1 millimeter to as large as 15 centimeters, Poinar said, but they all, with the exception of some smaller males, have a similar arrangement of sucking mouthparts.

In its “spittlebug” form, the researcher explained, the immature toad peck at the sap of the plant’s stem, sucking it in and then releasing it from its rectum. The bug secretes a sprouting liquid—think a cappuccino maker—and covers itself with the resulting slippery foam, which hides it from predators like ants and also protects it from parasitic wasps that love to lay eggs inside the bug’s salivary body.

In adulthood, these tiny insects (generally about 1 cm long) can shoot forward up to 100 times their body length thanks to their powerful hind legs that are equipped with structures that flex like a shooting bow and can exert a force 400 times their body weight. .

Poinar added that the frog-hoppers feed on many types of plants and are found wherever vegetation grows. They tie their wings together as a tent over their bodies and can fly but generally prefer to get around by hopping.

The newly identified extinct froghopper has a slender 7-millimeter body, a head that is longer than wide, and eyes that are broad and round. There are fern trichomes on and adjacent to the specimen, Poinar said, indicating that they feed on and lay eggs on ferns.

“This is understandable because flowering plants were beginning to diversify only around that period in the middle of the Cretaceous period and ferns were very abundant,” said Poinar, who recently described a new species of fern in Burmese amber. “Moreover, we don’t know much about the biology of extinct leafhopper frogs — food preferences, feeding habits, parasitoids, or even whether nymphs were capable of producing butter.

He added: “This fossil frog-splitter appears to have shared the last few seconds of its life with a small beetle that was also ensnared in resin and now nests in the top of the head of the frog-splitter.” Is this a real connection or just a chance meeting?

more information:
George Poinar et al., Genus Araeoanasillus leptosomus. et al. November, (Hemiptera, Cercopoidea, Sinoalidae?), New Burmese Amber Froghopper Mid-Cretaceous with Evidence of Possible Host Plant, life (2023). DOI: 10.3390/life13040922

Provided by Oregon State University

the quote: Study of Fossil Insects Identifies New Genus and Species of Giant Hoppers froghopper (2023, May 10) Retrieved May 10, 2023 from https://phys.org/news/2023-05-fossil-insect-genus-species-prodigious . programming language

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