Primitive pollinating BEE infected with parasitic beetle larvae and preserved for 100 million years in amber is the “oldest fossil of its kind ever found”
- Scientific name Discoscapa apicula was given to the unique bee species
- Died about 100 million years ago in contemporary Myanmar in tree sap
- In the same piece of amber revealed the evidence of 27 parasitic beetle larvae
- It is an intermediate species between carnivorous wasps and modern bees
A primitive bee that was weighted by parasitic beetle larvae perished after being stuck in tree sap 100 million years ago.
The moment of death was immortalized for millennia while the sap overwhelmed the insect, killed it and eventually hardened to amber.
It was found in Myanmar and is the earliest evidence of a primitive bee with pollen in the fossil record.
It is also the first record of the beetle parasites, which to this day still suffer from bees.
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A primitive bee that was burdened by beetle parasites on its back collapsed after it got stuck in tree sap 100 million years ago. The moment of death has been immortalized for millennia
WHAT IS AMBER?
Amber has been used in jewelry for thousands of years and is often found with remarkably well-preserved materials from times long ago.
The golden translucent substance is formed when resin from extinct conifers was hardened and then fossilized.
Often insects, plant material, pollen and other creatures were trapped in the resin, causing them to be trapped inside after it had solidified.
Numerous pollen grains on the captive bee reveal that he has visited different flowers before he got stuck in tree resin.
“Additional evidence that the fossil had visited with flowers is the 21 beetle triungulins – larvae – in the same piece of amber that hitched a ride back to the bee’s nest to dine on bee larvae and their facilities, food left by the female, “Professor George Poinar Jr. of Oregon State University said.
“It is certainly possible that the large number of triungulins caused the bee to accidentally fly into the resin.”
Bees are crucial pollinators that enjoy pollen, but they are descended from apoid wasps, a carnivore.
But little is known about how the animals switched to a pollen-based diet and what the intermediate animals looked like.
The piece of amber was found in Myanmar and is the earliest evidence of a primitive bee with pollen in the fossil record. It is also the first record of the beetle parasites, which to this day still suffer from bees
Pictured: pollen-catching hairs on the bees in the amber. It has some characteristics with wasps and some with modern bees, making it important to understand the evolution of modern invertebrates
Professor Poinar studied the female bee from the mid-Cretaceous fossil and found that it was of a totally unique family, gender and species.
Professor Poinar gave the creature the scientific name Discoscapa apicula.
It has some characteristics with wasps and some with modern bees, making it important to understand the evolution of modern invertebrates.
The soft hairs, a rounded pronotal lobe and a few spurs on the hindleg are comparable to bees.
But the low-placed antennal feet and certain wing vein characteristics are similar to the wasps.
“Something unique about the new family that does not appear in an existing or extinct line of apoid wasps or bees is a split scape,” said Professor Poinar.
“The fossil record of bees is quite large, but most are from the past 65 million years and look a lot like modern bees.
“Fossils like the one in this study can tell us about the changes that certain wasp strains have undergone when they became palynivores – pollen eaters.”