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  1. Being a Colorado native, I have taken multiple trips to the public-access Florissant Fossil Quarry located near Florissant Fossil Beds National Monument in Florissant, Teller County, Colorado. This quarry provides fossil collectors fantastic access to the shale layers of the Florissant Formation, a late Eocene (Priabonian, ~34 million years old give or take) lagerstatte known for its diverse fauna of fossil insects, in addition to plants, gastropods, and very rarely vertebrates. Most fossils occur in very thinly laminated ashy grey shales. Other lithologies present include well-sorted tan course sandstones and well-sorted grey claystones. A lacustrine depositional environment is apparent, and though the Florissant Formation has previously been interpreted as the remains of a single large lake (the retroactively named Lake Florissant), it is now generally thought that deposition occurred across several smaller lakes, which of course shifted in their exact location throughout the period of deposition. This thread is for me to share some of my better quality (or more interesting) fossil insect finds from the Florissant Fossil Quarry, and to allow other people to share their Florissant insects. I intend on updating this thread as I make more collecting trips. Most insect fossils found at Florissant are of poor quality, however exceptionally beautiful specimens do crop up quite frequently. Regardless, identification even down to family level is usually very difficult, and some specimens I even have difficulty assigning to an order. Additional reading: https://bioone.org/journals/palaios/volume-27/issue-7/palo.2011.p11-084r/DEPOSITIONAL-SETTING-AND-FOSSIL-INSECT-PRESERVATION--A-STUDY-OF/10.2110/palo.2011.p11-084r.short Please note that at least for now picture quality is not ideal. I do not have the capacity to take good quality macro photographs, but I am doing the best that I can. The scale of the ruler is millimeters, magnification (when applicable) is noted. Order Diptera (True flies): Probably my best-preserved Florissant insect (and one of the first ones I ever found). Another fly. I'd like to be able to identify this one to family (and it almost certainly is identifiable to family) but I haven't been able to place it. This is a gorgeous fossil! Magnified 20X under a stereo microscope. Another gorgeous fossil fly. Possibly a gnat (suborder Nematocera), but I'm not 100% on this identification. Partial fly of indeterminate family, most of the abdomen is apparently missing. Both wings are preserved, the thorax and head are also nicely detailed. This is an example of a march fly (Family Bibionidae), probably the most common insect at Florissant. Many specimens (such as this one) are preserved without their wings. The head and mouthparts are very nicely preserved here, I feel shameful that I could not manage a better photograph. Crane fly, (Family Tipulidae). The preservation quality is not fantastic, but the gross anatomy can be easily made out (both wings, the abdomen, thorax, head, eyes, and even the halteres and some of the legs are present). Order Hymenoptera (Bees, ants, wasps, and relatives): A nice solitary bee (clade Anthophila). The details are not as high-fidelty as some other Florissant insects, but a nice complete specimen. Order Hemiptera (True bugs): Magnified 20X under a stereo microscope. A shield bug (superfamily Pentatamoidea). This is a really neat specimen because fossil Hemipterans aren't particularly common. Indeterminate Order: A large insect that I've never quite been able to place. Two wings are very faintly preserved which would normally be indicitave of a fly, but this specimen just doesn't look much like a fly otherwise. The antennae are interesting, it's a very large insect, and the tibia has an interesting flange. Unfortunately I can't seem to get a good look at the mouthparts (which has been very useful for me in the past for identification). Magnified 20X under a stereo microscope. At first I thought this might be an ant (family Formicidae) but under magnification the shape of the head is more suggestive of a fly. Very poor preservation, I'm not confident I'll ever get a solid answer here. Larvae: A nice plump fly larva, looks to me to be from a botfly (family Oestridae) or a relative. A very strange fossil. The segmentation and tagmosis definitely means this is an arthropod of some sort, and an insect larva is my current interpretation. Still, I've never seen anything quite like it. I've had a few people suggest to me this might be the abdomen of an earwig, but that's definitely not the case (earwig cerci do not look like this or articulate with the abdomen in this manner). Non-Insect Invertebrates: Just an example of one of the tiny gastropods that are common. It takes a keen eye to see them, but once you can recognize them you realize they're very plentiful. If you have some fossil insects from this locality in your collection, feel free to post them here too! Cheers!
  2. oilshale

    Mesosciophila eucalla Zhang 2007

    Taxonomy from Fossilworks.org. Emended diagnosis for the genus from Zhang 2007, p. 298: "Medium-sized mesosciophilid gnats. Male body (including legs) covered with long, dense pubescence. Eyes large. Maxillary palps five-segmented, longer than head length. Antennae filiform, 16-segmented, with scapes and pedicels quadrate, flagellomeres cylindrical. Mesonotum convex. Scutellum clearly projecting. Venationally, Sc1 ending distad to level of Rs origin, Sc2 situated clearly basad to Rs origin; bRs longer than r-m; R1 slightly curved; both R1 and R4+5 divergent terminally; Rs furcated distad to fork of M1+2; R2+3 oblique; cell r moderately large, one-quarter to one-fifth of length of wing; stem of M not developed. Halteres light, with pubescence not visible. Femora, tibiae and first two tarsomeres with one or two rows of short setae." Line drawings from Zhang 2007, p. 300 (scale bars represent 1mm): A: Male Gnat C: Wing References: Junfeng Zhang (2007). New mesosciophilid gnats (Insecta: Diptera: Mesosciophilidae) in the Daohugou biota of Inner Mongolia, China, Cretaceous Research, Volume 28, Issue 2, Pages 297-301, ISSN 0195-6671, https://doi.org/10.1016/j.cretres.2006.05.007.
  3. This dipteran became stuck in amber approximately 100mya just after eclosing (coming out from its pupal case as a new adult). The shape of the wing indicates it was in the process of unfurling and therefore never took flight.
  4. Here is a Cretaceous Burmite Midge that appears to show preservation of the indirect flight muscles in one hemithorax. Indirect flight muscles distort the thorax cuticle from the inside to indirectly move the insect’s wings and power flight. While this level of microscopy cannot prove the tissue is muscle, it seems likely that the two sets of power muscles for flight are visible in this fossil: six dorsolongitudinal muscles (DLM) and six dorsoventral muscles (DVM). There are smaller muscles that play a role in guidance and directional movement that may be present but cannot be unambiguously determined without better tools. This midge is on the surface of the amber on its mid-sagittal plane with half of the insect gone.
  5. oilshale

    Dolichopodidae indet.

    Taxonomy according to fossilworks.org. Diagnosis according to Sawabi et al., 2018 p. 7: “Small to medium slender flies; body length 1–9 mm; most species with greenish to blue metallic luster, while others dull yellow, brown or black in color. Eyes large and prominent. Antennae aristate. Ocellar bristles and outer vertical bristles well developed in most species. Legs long and slender. Wings clear or patterned with darker areas towards the wing margin; wing venation reduced; three radial veins R1, R2 + 3, R4 + 5 present; posterior basal cell and discoidal cell always fused; anal cell always small. Abdomen elongate-conical or flat; male genitalia often free and bear on a petiole; tergite 8 being asymmetrical.” Identified by oilshale using Sawaby et al. 2018. Reference: Sawaby, R. F., El Hamouly, H., and Abo-El Ela, R. H. (2018): Diagnosis and keys of the main dipterous families and species collected from rabbit and guinea pig carcasses in Cairo, Egypt. The Journal of Basic and Applied Zoology 79:10. DOI 10.1186/s41936-018-0018-6
  6. Dear Friends, This time i'd like to show "scene" from Baltic Amber. Diptera In Coupla - Mating Flies - Copulating Flies. Very good quality for scene like this. Collectors love inclusions like this. Sometimes i got flies in "mating position" but they are not "connected" on 100%. Very clear amber also with ant inside and other flies but i cant upload more mb Enjoy ! Cheers From Europe Artur
  7. Sylvestersen

    3 insects

    From the album: Insects from the Fur Formation

    2 flyes (diptera) + 1 crane fly (tipolidae)
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