Saturday 10 November 2012

A fossil Cricket in Miocene amber.

The Dominican Republic hosts three sites noted for the production of exceptionally clear amber with numerous preserved Insects, together regarded as a fossil Lagarstätte. The amber is thought to be the preserved resin of an extinct tropical tree, Hymenaea protera, a type of Legume. The sites are Oligocene to Miocene in age, on average about 25 million years old.

In a paper published in the journal ZooKeys on 22 October 2012, Sam Heads of the Illinois Natural History Survey and the Department of Entomology at the University of Illinois at Urbana-ChampaignDavid Penney of the Faculty of Life Sciences at the University of Manchester and David Green of the Department of Geology at the Amgueddfa CymruNational Museum Wales describe a new species of Cricket from Early Miocene amber from the Dominican Republic.

The new Cricket is placed in the genus Proanaxipha, which has previously been used to describe two other species of Cricket from Miocene Dominican amber (though Heads et al. regard one of these as somewhat unreliable), and is given the specific name madgesuttonae in honour of Madge Sutton. It is a 5.97 mm male Insect, differing from previously described Crickets of the genus Proanaxipha in the fine structure of its wings.

Proanaxipha madgesuttonae in (1) dorsal and (2) ventral views. Heads et al. (2012).

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