Mayflies: short and tragic life of the ancient species of insects


About 100 million years ago in small mayflies were big problems. Like most mayflies (ancient squad winged insects) for adult life they are given only one day, and there was no time to waste time. They mated in flight, Seeding, and almost about to lay eggs when something terrible happened. She got stuck in the resin of some trees and dying, surviving for a long time in the magic of amber. Thus, neither of which the offspring of question.

It was very rude Interrupting life being that only included in the period of early adulthood. But the personal tragedy of the insect has become a godsend for scientists. Small form - just described researcher at the University of Oregon as a new subfamily, genus and species of mayfly - has helped to shed some light into the ecology of the distant past, as well as the cause of death of the insect, pointing out that, at least, it has not been eaten by a fish.

"Understanding the ecology and history of mayflies is necessary, because they are one of the main types of food for fish in the world" - said George Poinar (George Poinar), professor of entomology at OSU and one of the leading experts in the use of amber to study ancient life forms.

"This is the first time that we have confirmed documented such long antennae in the structure and the fact of the ovipositor in this order of insects" - said Poinar. "This type is now extinct. These insects are likely to lay their eggs in a certain type of environment that disappeared, and the view was gone along with it. As can be seen, for insects is not always good to have too personal touches."

Ovipositor, as explained Poinar, oviposition is the mechanism that many insects are used for placing the eggs in their specific location, such as in plant tissue. But as you know, for any of the forms of modern mayflies not characteristic ovipositor.

Everywhere, this group of insects is of great importance for biology of rivers and streams. They are the staple food for most aquatic predators, including fish. They are also often used by fishermen as bait for fish that live in rivers and lakes. There are many regions, water bodies where certain types of mayflies densely populated and thus become an abundance of food for the fish, which is a big advantage for fishermen.

Life is short ephemera. She lives in the form of a nymph about a year in fresh water, then comes the last and only day in which she grows up to mate and lay their eggs, and then the insect dies.

"After mating mayflies usually die by the end of the day" - said Poinar. "There is only one thing that really bothers them in this one eventful day, and this is what they do not eat. They do not even have functional mouth parts."

The facts found and studied on the example of the samples of these insects, according to researchers, can provide invaluable insight into ancient ecosystems, what life forms existed, and how they might interact. Samples can be stored in great shape when adhered to the resin of the tree that later hardens and becomes amber, semi-precious stone.

This fossil was found in the Valley of the Hukong Burma, now known as Myanmar. It was formed in the period between 97 and 110 million years ago. Details of this analysis have been published in the professional journal "Historical Biology".

"She was a very young female" - added to the end of Poinar. "I called the genus Vetuformosa, which translated from Latin means" ancient beauty. "

Original: Sciencedaily Translation: M. Potter

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