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Earliest record of copulating insects discovered

Date:
November 6, 2013
Source:
Public Library of Science
Summary:
Scientists have found the oldest fossil depicting copulating insects in northeastern China.

This image shows a holotype male, on the right, and allotype female, on the left.
Credit: Li S, Shih C, Wang C, Pang H, Ren D

Scientists have found the oldest fossil depicting copulating insects in northeastern China, published November 6th in the open-access journal PLOS ONE by Dong Ren and colleagues at the Capital Normal University in China.

Fossil records of mating insects are fairly sparse, and therefore our current knowledge of mating position and genitalia orientation in the early stages of evolution is rather limited.

In this study, the authors present a fossil of a pair of copulating froghoppers, a type of small insect that hops from plant to plant much like tiny frogs. The well-preserved fossil of these two froghoppers showed belly-to-belly mating position and depicts the male reproductive organ inserting into the female copulatory structure.

This is the earliest record of copulating insects to date, and suggests that froghoppers' genital symmetry and mating position have remained static for over 165 million years. Ren adds, "We found these two very rare copulating froghoppers which provide a glimpse of interesting insect behavior and important data to understand their mating position and genitalia orientation during the Middle Jurassic."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Public Library of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Shu Li, Chungkun Shih, Chen Wang, Hong Pang, Dong Ren. Forever Love: The Hitherto Earliest Record of Copulating Insects from the Middle Jurassic of China. PLoS ONE, 2013; 8 (11): e78188 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0078188

Cite This Page:

Public Library of Science. "Earliest record of copulating insects discovered." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 November 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131106202404.htm>.
Public Library of Science. (2013, November 6). Earliest record of copulating insects discovered. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131106202404.htm
Public Library of Science. "Earliest record of copulating insects discovered." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/11/131106202404.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

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