Navigation Links
A living species of aquatic beetle found in 20-million-year-old sediments
Date:10/6/2011

The fossil beetle discovered in the 16-23 million years old sediments of the Irtysh River in southern Siberia belongs to the modern species Helophorus sibiricus, a member of the water scavenger beetles (Hydrophiloidea), which is at present widely distributed in Eurasia and reaches even North America. The species was originally described in 1860 by the Russian entomologist Victor Motschulsky based on specimens collected at Lake Baikal. It is aquatic and inhabits various kinds of standing waters, predominantly the grassy temporary pools. Larvae are unknown so far, but are supposed to be terrestrial and predaceous, preying on various invertebrates, as in most other species of the genus.

The Siberian fossil provides new data for the long-lasting debate among scientists about the average duration of an insect species. It was originally estimated to be ca. 2-3 million years based on the available fossil record, but slowly accumulating data begin to show that such an estimate is an oversimplification of the problem. Recently, evolutionary trees dated using molecular clocks suggested that some insect species are rather young, originating during the Ice Ages, but others may have been able to survive the last 10-20 million years until today. The long-living species had to survive the massive changes of the Earth's climate during the last millions of years - how they managed to do so is another question for scientists to address.

A large missing piece for the acceptance of long-living insects as a general phenomenon and for understanding the reasons for survival of the particular species is the scarcity of the fossils of such species. The reasons seem to be rather straightforward the majority of the fossils bear too few details to allow a detailed comparison with living species, whose taxonomy is often based on the shape of male genitalia and other details. That is why the fossil discovered by the Czech-Russian-British team is so important: it bears enough details to allow its detailed comparison with the living species. Although the genitalia are not preserved in the fossil, the scientists were lucky that Helophorus beetles bear species-specific granulation on the pronotum which was readily seen on the fossil and allowed its reliable identification.

A life-style associated with an environment which remains stable over time, such as rotten wood, has been suggested as one of the possible ways in which long-living species may have survived from the past. The discovery of a long-living species of an aquatic beetle may indicate that temporary pools in which Helophorus sibiricus is mainly living today may be another example of such a stable environment it is really not difficult to imagine that the conditions in a pool created in a modern grassland from the melting snow are very similar to those one would have found in such a pool 20 million years ago.


'/>"/>

Contact: Martin Fikacek
mfikacek@gmail.com
Pensoft Publishers
Source:Eurekalert  

Related biology news :

1. NSF funds new Center for the Physics of Living Cells at Illinois
2. TB bacterium uses its sugar coat to sweeten its chances of living in lungs
3. Living fossil tree contains genetic imprints of rain forests under climate change
4. New method provides panoramic view of protein-RNA interactions in living cells
5. Novel technique for fluorescence tomography of tumors in living animals
6. MIT nanotubes sniff out cancer agents in living cells
7. Reproductive life of male mice is increased by living with females
8. Living longer thanks to the longevity gene
9. Protein structure determined in living cells
10. 4,000-year-old coral beds among worlds oldest living things, prof says
11. Living long, living well
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
Related Image:
A living species of aquatic beetle found in 20-million-year-old sediments
(Date:4/11/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition of the ... ... to grow at a CAGR of 30.37% during the period 2017-2021. ... been prepared based on an in-depth market analysis with inputs from ... prospects over the coming years. The report also includes a discussion ...
(Date:4/11/2017)... April 11, 2017 NXT-ID, Inc. (NASDAQ: ... company, announces the appointment of independent Directors Mr. Robin ... its Board of Directors, furthering the company,s corporate governance and ... Gino Pereira ... look forward to their guidance and benefiting from their considerable ...
(Date:4/5/2017)...  The Allen Institute for Cell Science today announces ... portal and dynamic digital window into the human cell. ... application of deep learning to create predictive models of ... a growing suite of powerful tools. The Allen Cell ... publicly available resources created and shared by the Allen ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... The Blavatnik Family Foundation ... six Finalists of the 2017 Blavatnik Regional Awards for Young Scientists. Established ... administered by the New York Academy of Sciences to honor the excellence of ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... ... United States multicenter, prospective clinical study that demonstrates the accuracy of the ... of identifying clinically significant acute bacterial and viral respiratory tract infections by ...
(Date:10/12/2017)... ... October 12, 2017 , ... AMRI, ... and biotechnology industries to improve patient outcomes and quality of life, will now ... testing are being attributed to new regulatory requirements for all new drug products, ...
(Date:10/11/2017)... ... October 11, 2017 , ... At its national ... Dr. Suneel I. Sheikh, the co-founder, CEO and chief research scientist of Minnesota-based ... selected for membership in ARCS Alumni Hall of Fame . ASTER Labs ...
Breaking Biology Technology: