Trees in the ancient forest sit covered with moss, lichens and rugged bark. Suddenly, the bark mass begins to move.
But it is not the bark that is in a hurry.It’s a strange little creature called Stegastochlidus saraemcheana, A newly discovered genus and species of the cylindrical bark beetle. Scientists have recovered creatures that look like walking scrub brushes from 100 million years old amber collected in the Hukawng Valley in northern Myanmar.It ’s a beetle Cretaceous, The period from 145.5 million years to 65.5 million years ago.
“Beetles are moss, lichens, and Fungi, Attached to a tree trunk or forest floor, “said George Poiner Jr., a paleontologist and entomologist at Oregon State University, who co-authored the study. Said in a statement.. “He hides under a magnificent camouflage he made and can blend in with the mossy background.”
This “spectacular camouflage” is named after the beetle from “stegastos” which means covered in Greek and “chlidos” which means decoration. ( Textbook “Structure of scientific terms” (Washington, 1954) defines a similar word “chlidon” to mean “bracelet, anklet, or ornament.” )
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This jagged decoration does not make the beetle look like an insect, it looks like a mass of bark on a tree.Their treatise was published in the journal on December 15th. Biosis: Biological system, The author informatively points out which end of the peculiar bug is its head and which is its body.
When viewed from above, the head protrudes from the tubular body as a spike-covered round tuft-like structure. Two segmented antennas extend from the head and end in a club-like shape. When viewed from the side, the head is on one end of the beetle, with the forelimbs and midfoot just behind it. The hind legs sit slightly behind the body, in front of the beetle’s cylindrical abdomen.
The total length of the bug is only 0.17 inches (4.2 mm), but it packs over 100 spike-like structures on the back and head. The authors write that these spikes likely helped the beetles to dissolve in moss, lichens, and fungi.
“A close relationship with the fungus is demonstrated by a strand of fungal spores known as conidia attached to the cuticle or outer cover of the beetle,” Poiner said in a statement. A pair of parasitic mites were also found to hang on the beetle by their mouth, the authors said. These mites were also trapped in amber while snacking on beetles about 100 million years ago.
The authors said the bug probably preyed on other invertebrates, as the pointed mouth of the beetle implies a carnivorous diet. With such a small body, beetles can easily slip into the gallery (a vertical structure made of wood by other beetles) and devour the pupae and larvae contained therein.
Originally published in Live Science.
Strange ancient beetles look like scrub brushes
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