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Baltic amber "mosquito" and "tick" fossil - age/species ID?


DrogaMleczna

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A while back I bought this baltic amber piece with 2 insects that look like mosquito and a tick. It's likely real, since it glows in 385nm UV light, but what's its age and what are those insects inside it? Each square on the photos is 5x5mm. Thanks for any help! 

 

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Not sure on the insects, but Baltic amber is 20 - 22 million years old. Although I don't think that is a mosquito, but more in the fly family.

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Baltic Amber is generally accepted as Eocene, or roughly 40 million years old, give or take 5 million years or so. If what you have is a fly (dipteran), you should see only two wings and a pair of small external balancing structures called halteres in the place of the second pair of wings. From what I can make out, this doesn't appear to be a dipteran. An analysis of wing venation would reveal the insect class you have there. @FossilDAWG?

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Larger insect could be an adult stonefly (Plecoptera), known inclusions in Baltic amber.  Nice piece!

 

Edit: The smaller "tick" could be Trombidiidae or an acarid mite

Edited by Mousehead
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Very nice stonefly (Order Plecoptera). The venation of the forewing is consistent with what you find in published figures: http://illiesia.speciesfile.org/papers/Illiesia01-09.pdf

In particular, there are several crossveins between the proximal areas of the medial and cubital veins that are consistent with stoneflies. 

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Wing venation in Euholognatha. Color pattern and abbreviations as in... |  Download Scientific Diagram

 

Stoneflies are generally rare as fossils as opposed to the other orders mentioned, but are regular finds in Baltic amber per Weitschat and Wichard's Atlas of Plants and Animals in Baltic Amber (2002). As they are generally weak fliers, their presence suggests that the environment of the Baltic amber forest must have been close to clear, freshwater streams. Unfortunately, the hind wings have been folded so we can't see the venation. Note how the wings are folded horizontally above the thorax and abdomen, which is also consistent with stoneflies. 

 

You are correct that you have some sort of mite or tick in the order Acari.

 

 

 

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On 12/21/2021 at 12:56 PM, Mousehead said:

Please let the records show that I absolutely NAILED IT.

Yes, well done!

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  • 3 weeks later...
holdinghistory

I agree on the stonefly. You will find amber for sale frequently that has "ticks" in it, but nearly all of them are mites. In handling countless thousands of amber inclusions, I have only ever had one or two real ticks.

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