Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Fossils of earliest stick insect to mimic plants discovered: Ancient stick insect species mimicked plant leaves

Date:
March 19, 2014
Source:
PLOS
Summary:
An ancient stick insect species may have mimicked plant leaves for defense, according to a new article. Many insects have developed defense mechanisms, including the ability to mimic the surrounding environment. Stick and leaf insects mimic plants from their environment, but scientists know little about the original of this interaction due to little or no previous stick insect fossil records showing this adaptation. The scientists discovered three specimens, one female and two males, belonging to a new fossil stick insect referred to as Cretophasmomima melanogramma, in Inner Mongolia at the Jehol locality, a site from the Cretaceous period (approximately 126 million years ago).

At left: Cretophasmomima melanogramma at right: Membranifolia admirabilis.
Credit: left: O. Béthoux, right: F. Jacques

An ancient stick insect species may have mimicked plant leaves for defense, according to a paper published in the open-access journal PLOS ONE on March 19, 2014 by Maomin Wang, from Capital Normal University, China and colleagues.

Many insects have developed defense mechanisms, including the ability to mimic the surrounding environment. Stick and leaf insects mimic plants from their environment, but scientists know little about the original of this interaction due to little or no previous stick insect fossil records showing this adaptation. The scientists discovered three specimens, one female and two males, belonging to a new fossil stick insect referred to as Cretophasmomima melanogramma, in Inner Mongolia at the Jehol locality, a site from the Cretaceous period (approximately 126 million years ago). The species possessed adaptive features that make it resembling a plant recovered from the same locality.

The insects' wings have parallel dark lines and when in the resting position, likely produced a tongue-like shape concealing the abdomen. Fossils from a relative of the ginkgo plant have been documented in the area with similar tongue-shaped leaves along with multiple longitudinal lines. The authors suggest the insect used this plant as a model for concealment.

The new fossils indicate that leaf mimicry was a defensive strategy performed by some insects as early as in the Early Cretaceous, but that additional refinements characteristic of recent forms, such as a curved part of the fore legs for hiding the head, were still lacking.

The new fossil suggests that leaf mimicry predated the appearance of twig and bark mimicry in these types of insects. The diversification of small-sized, insect-eating birds and mammals may have triggered the acquisition of such primary defenses.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Wang M, Béthoux O, Bradler S, Jacques FMB, Cui Y, et al. Under Cover at Pre-Angiosperm Times: A Cloaked Phasmatodean Insect from the Early Cretaceous Jehol Biota. PLoS ONE, 2014 DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0091290

Cite This Page:

PLOS. "Fossils of earliest stick insect to mimic plants discovered: Ancient stick insect species mimicked plant leaves." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 19 March 2014. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140319195809.htm>.
PLOS. (2014, March 19). Fossils of earliest stick insect to mimic plants discovered: Ancient stick insect species mimicked plant leaves. ScienceDaily. Retrieved October 23, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140319195809.htm
PLOS. "Fossils of earliest stick insect to mimic plants discovered: Ancient stick insect species mimicked plant leaves." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2014/03/140319195809.htm (accessed October 23, 2014).

Share This



More Fossils & Ruins News

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Oldest Bone Ever Sequenced Shows Human/Neanderthal Mating

Oldest Bone Ever Sequenced Shows Human/Neanderthal Mating

Newsy (Oct. 23, 2014) — A 45,000-year-old thighbone is showing when humans and neanderthals may have first interbred and revealing details about our origins. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Goofy Dinosaur Blends Barney and Jar Jar Binks

Goofy Dinosaur Blends Barney and Jar Jar Binks

AP (Oct. 22, 2014) — A collection of dinosaur bones reveal a creature that is far more weird and goofy-looking than scientists originally thought when they found just the arm bones nearly 50 years ago, according to a new report in the journal Nature. (Oct. 22) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Sunken WWII U-Boat That Fired On U.S. Convoy Found

Sunken WWII U-Boat That Fired On U.S. Convoy Found

Newsy (Oct. 22, 2014) — U-576, a long-lost German U-boat the U.S. sank in 1942, has been found just 30 miles off North Carolina's coast and near the wreckage of another ship. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Turns Out Jack The Ripper's True Identity Is Still Unknown

Turns Out Jack The Ripper's True Identity Is Still Unknown

Newsy (Oct. 20, 2014) — After testing DNA from a shawl found near one of Jack the Ripper's victims, a scientist said he'd identified the killer. New reports refute the claim. 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:

Strange & Offbeat Stories

 

Plants & Animals

Earth & Climate

Fossils & Ruins

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