Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

After 49-million-year hiatus, Ectobius cockroach reappears in North America

Date:
January 6, 2014
Source:
Entomological Society of America
Summary:
Four ancient cockroach species in the Ectobius genus were recently discovered in the 49-million-year-old Green River Formation near Rifle, Colo., and it now appears that Ectobius may have originated in the New World.

A modern Ectobius cockroach (Ectobius vittiventris) from northern Europe.
Credit: Amada44, CC-BY-3.0

The cockroach in the genus Ectobius is a major textbook example of an invasive organism, and it is the most common cockroach inhabiting a large region from northernmost Europe to southernmost Africa.

Ectobius has a long fossil history in Europe, occurring in Baltic amber that is about 44 million years old, and its lineage was believed to have been exclusively from the Old World. However, a shocking new discovery has uprooted that view. In fact, it now appears that Ectobius may have originated in the New World.

Four ancient Ectobius species were recently discovered in the 49-million-year-old Green River Formation near Rifle, Colorado in deposits that are about five million years older than the Baltic amber. However, these cockroaches soon became extinct in North America. The cause for the extinction of Ectobius in North America in the dim past is unknown, but it evidently survived in the Old World, and western Europe in particular.

"About 65 years ago, several entomologists in the northeastern United States noted that four species of Ectobius were present in North America," said corresponding author Dr. Conrad Labandeira. "It was always assumed that these four newcomers were the first Ectobius species to have ever lived in North America. But the discovery in Colorado proves that their relatives were here nearly 50 million years ago."

In many ways the history of Ectobius mirrors that of the biogeographic history of the horse. Horses occurred in the New World and became extinct during the late Pleistocene ecological crisis. Horses, attached to human habitation, were subsequently introduced to North America by early Spanish explorers about 11,000 years after their demise.

The newly discovered species of Ectobius, specifically Ectobius kohlsi, are described in the January 2014 issue of Annals of the Entomological Society of America.

This particular species is named after David Kohls, who lives near Rifle, Colorado and has been an indefatigable collector of fossil insects and plants from the nearby Green River Formation. His collection of approximately 150,000 insects from 31,000 slabs of shale now constitutes the Kohls Green River Fossil Insect Collection, which is housed in the Smithsonian's Department of Paleobiology.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Entomological Society of America. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. P. Vršanskύ, R. Oružinskύ, P. Barna, L'. Vidlička, C. C. Labandeira. Native Ectobius (Blattaria: Ectobiidae) From the Early Eocene Green River Formation of Colorado and Its Reintroduction to North America 49 Million Years Later. Annals of the Entomological Society of America, 2014; 107 (1): 28 DOI: 10.1603/AN13042

Cite This Page:

Entomological Society of America. "After 49-million-year hiatus, Ectobius cockroach reappears in North America." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 6 January 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140106094716.htm>.
Entomological Society of America. (2014, January 6). After 49-million-year hiatus, Ectobius cockroach reappears in North America. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 20, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140106094716.htm
Entomological Society of America. "After 49-million-year hiatus, Ectobius cockroach reappears in North America." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/01/140106094716.htm (accessed April 20, 2014).

Share This



More Plants & Animals News

Sunday, April 20, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Mich. Boy Unearths 10,000-Year-Old Mastodon Tooth

Newsy (Apr. 20, 2014) — A 9-year-old Michigan boy was exploring a creek when he came across a 10,000-year-old tooth from a prehistoric mastodon. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home

AP (Apr. 18, 2014) — Dairy farmers and ethnic groups in Vermont are both benefiting from a unique collaborative effort that's feeding a growing need for fresh and affordable goat meat. (April 18) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Man Claims He Found Loch Ness Monster With... Apple Maps?

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — Andy Dixon showed the Daily Mail a screenshot of what he believes to be the mythical beast swimming just below the lake's surface. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

First Ever 'Female Penis' Discovered In Animal Kingdom

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) — Not only are these newly discovered bugs' sex organs reversed, but they also mate for up to 70 hours. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
 
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:  

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:  

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile iPhone Android Web
Follow Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins