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Help w/ ID? Curious lepidopteran in MX amber (~18-25 Ma)


bagheera

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Anyone able to help with ID on an interesting lepidopteran in Mexican amber from Chiapas (ca. 18-25 Ma)? Any/all thoughts much appreciated.
 
It looked like a nymphalid (perhaps Eurema?) from merchant photos. However after getting the amber and holding it, I'm totally thrown off! 
There's no record of butterflies from continental Neotropical amber---and preservation is exceptional.
Associated with the lep are the flowers, foliage, pollen and seeds of Hymenaea and at least 2 other legumes. Perhaps there's even an orchid hidden in there. (The max file limit's too small to include these hi-res photos...)
 
Amber matrix: ca. 7 x 4 x 2 cm (oblong)
Wingspan ca. 3.5 cm
Length of wing at longest point ca. 2 cm (crude estimate)
 
'Unfortunately' (for ID) the amber heavily fluoresces a lovely blue/green: the foliage, pollen, flowers obscure the specimen's body on the (presumably) dorsal side. It's further complicated by refraction on what would be the ventral side. What looks like a dark antenna in the pics is actually just the a side-view of one of the flowering legume's pinnae.
 
I wouldn't be surprised if it's a geometer moth, but what a remarkable fossil if it proves to be a skipper or true butterfly (nymphalid? lycaenid/riodinid?). 
 
Thanks all.

[chiapas lepidoptera in full amber matrix].jpg

chiapas lepidoptera (good overview).jpg

chiapas lepidoptera 02.jpg

chiapas_lep-backlit.jpg

chiapas_lep-backlit2.jpg

chiapas_lep-backlit3.jpg

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I'm sorry: My main suspect is "Pieridae", not Nymphalidae as first written.

New to this forum, and very grateful for any comments.

Thanks

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  • 2 months later...

Hello bagheera,

 

I am also a newbie, and so I can not be of much help in identifying your specimen...

 

But, I CAN say that its "cool factor" is about 1000! 

 

Great piece!

 

Best regards,

 

Bob

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On 5/13/2017 at 11:32 PM, bagheera said:

I'm sorry: My main suspect is "Pieridae", not Nymphalidae as first written.

New to this forum, and very grateful for any comments.

Thanks

Welcome to the Fossil Forum.

Nice find!

Unfortunately there seems to be few insect experts here, as most of the inquiries about insect fossils go unanswered to the extent that You have already identified this.

Maybe @doushantuo can help with this.

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Sounds like the guy already knows what he's talking about.:P

Having read at least some of the pieces i have on amber-preserved avian plumage/integument,i can say the following:

amber taphonomy has its own complications

Now,will I change into LEPIDOPTERAMAN,superhero of insect taxonomy and systematics?

I think I left my cape at home:D(it's prolly in the dryer right now)

I MIGHT post some useful stuff though,dunno yet

 

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While that is a beautiful specimen, I have serious doubts that it is an insect.  In particular the "wing" venation does not resemble lepidopterans or any other insect.  I suspect this fossil is some petals of a flower.

 

Below is what the veins of lepidopteran wings should look like (details will vary between families and genera but the basic pattern will be the same) (source).

 

Don

lep wings.jpg

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Mwahh,fossil flowers in amber are such a drag,compared to lepidopteran fossils:P

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I am not an insect collector nor specialist but I was wondering if it was one as well.  Could it be one of those winged seeds?

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Sagebrush Steve
12 hours ago, siteseer said:

I am not an insect collector nor specialist but I was wondering if it was one as well.  Could it be one of those winged seeds?

Good call!  Like this one I got off the Internet?IMG_0077.thumb.PNG.fc43239a2cedce32b0379503a7caad7c.PNG

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Beautiful piece. 

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I am definitely going with seed or flower here. But it's fantastic either way!

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I do collect insects, but not butterflies, and I seem to remember butterfly wings come in sets of 4 and I can only make out one on each side and the veins look wrong. Petals tend to be grouped around a central area and you would expect more of them so I am with the seed school of thought. Even though I think it is a seed it is still a superb specimen. 

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