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  • July 9, 2021

New species of insect found in piece of amber

  • Insectarium
The bug found in a piece of amber in Myanmar is characterized by his extravagant antennae.
Photo: Insectarium de Montréal (Royce T. Cumming)
A bug (Ferriantenna excalibur) in a piece of amber.

An insect that lived during the Cretaceous period, when dinosaurs like tyrannosauruses and triceratopses roamed the Earth, about 65 million years ago, has been discovered in a piece of amber in Myanmar.

Ferriantenna excalibur is a bug of the Coreidae family. This bug with exaggerated (that is, disproportionately large) antennae no longer exists today, which makes the discovery all the more important, as it constitutes evidence of how the family has evolved. It should be noted that the Coreidae family is now characterized by exaggerated legs and not exaggerated antennae.

This is the fifth fossil of these bugs dating from that period. Three of the five fossils are on stones, while a single other one is in amber.

The origin of its Latin name Ferriantenna excalibur is explained below.

Genus: Ferriantenna is derived from the Latin ferri, which means weapon, and the Latin antenna, for antennae. The bug’s antennae have a sword-like shape.

Species: Excalibur is the name of the “sword in the stone” in Merlin’s legend about the famous sword belonging to Arthur, King of England.

Today, the Coreidae family is cosmopolitan, with over 3,100 species, spread across 260 genera. Québec is home to over seven species in six genera.

The piece of amber will enrich the scientific collection of the Insectarium de Montréal.

This paper is the second one to be published in paleoentomology by Royce T. Cumming, associate researcher at the Insectarium, and Stéphane Le Tirant, curator of the Insectarium’s scientific collection.

Drawing the Excalibur bug from the stone: adding credibility to the double-edged sword hypothesis of coreid evolution (Hemiptera, Coreidae)” appeared on June 14, 2021, in the scientific journal ZooKeys.

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