Artrópodos em âmbar do Período Triássico (230 Milhões de anos)

terça-feira, agosto 28, 2012

Oldest Occurrence of Arthropods Preserved in Amber: Fly, Mite Specimens Are 100 Million Years Older Than Previous Amber Inclusions

ScienceDaily (Aug. 27, 2012) — An international team of scientists has discovered the oldest record of arthropods -- invertebrate animals that include insects, arachnids, and crustaceans -- preserved in amber. The specimens, one fly and two mites found in millimeter-scale droplets of amber from northeastern Italy, are about 100 million years older than any other amber arthropod ever collected. The group's findings, which are published August 27 in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, pave the way for a better evolutionary understanding of the most diverse group of organisms in the world.

These photomicrographs are of the two new species of ancient gall mites in 230-million-year-old amber droplets from northeastern Italy, taken at 1000x magnification. The gall mites were named (left) Triasacarus fedelei and (right) Ampezzoa triassica. (Credit: University of Göttingen/A. Schmidt)

"Amber is an extremely valuable tool for paleontologists because it preserves specimens with microscopic fidelity, allowing uniquely accurate estimates of the amount of evolutionary change over millions of years," said corresponding author David Grimaldi, a curator in the American Museum of Natural History's Division of Invertebrate Zoology and a world authority on amber and fossil arthropods.

Globules of fossilized resin are typically called amber. Amber ranges in age from the Carboniferous (about 340 million years ago) to about 40,000 years ago, and has been produced by myriad plants, from tree ferns to flowering trees, but predominantly by conifers. Even though arthropods are more than 400 million years old, until now, the oldest record of the animals in amber dates to about 130 million years. The newly discovered arthropods break that mold with an age of 230 million years. They are the first arthropods to be found in amber from the Triassic Period.

The amber droplets, most between 2-6 millimeters long, were buried in outcrops high in the Dolomite Alps of northeastern Italy and excavated by Eugenio Ragazzi and Guido Roghi of the University of Padova. About 70,000 of the miniscule droplets were screened for inclusions -- encased animal and plant material -- by a team of German scientists led by Alexander Schmidt, of Georg-August University, Göttingen, resulting in the discovery of the three arthropods. The tiny arthropods were studied by Grimaldi and Evert Lindquist, an expert on gall mites at Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada in Ottawa.

Read more/Leia mais: Science Daily


Arthropods in amber from the Triassic Period

Alexander R. Schmidt a, Saskia Jancke b, Evert E. Lindquist c, Eugenio Ragazzi d, Guido Roghi e, Paul C. Nascimbene f, Kerstin Schmidt g, Torsten Wappler h, and David A. Grimaldi f,1

Author Affiliations

aCourant Research Centre Geobiology, Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, Goldschmidtstraße 3, 37077 Göttingen, Germany;

bMuseum für Naturkunde zu Berlin, Invalidenstraße 43, 10115 Berlin, Germany;

cCanadian National Collection of Insects, Arachnids, and Nematodes, Research Branch, Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, K.W. Neatby Building, 960 Carling Avenue, Ottawa, ON, Canada K1A 0C6;

dDepartment of Pharmaceutical and Pharmacological Sciences, University of Padova, Largo E. Meneghetti 2, 35131 Padova, Italy;

eInstitute of Geosciences and Earth Resources, National Research Council, Via Gradenigo 6, 35131 Padova, Italy;

fDivision of Invertebrate Zoology, American Museum of Natural History, New York, NY 10024-5192;

gFriedrich-Schiller-Universität Jena, Institut für Ökologie, Dornburger Straße 159, 07743 Jena, Germany; and

hSection Palaeontology, Steinmann Institute, University of Bonn, Nussallee 8, D-53105 Bonn, Germany

Edited by* David L. Dilcher, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, and approved August 2, 2012 (received for review May 21, 2012)


The occurrence of arthropods in amber exclusively from the Cretaceous and Cenozoic is widely regarded to be a result of the production and preservation of large amounts of tree resin beginning ca. 130 million years (Ma) ago. Abundant 230 million-year-old amber from the Late Triassic (Carnian) of northeastern Italy has previously yielded myriad microorganisms, but we report here that it also preserves arthropods some 100 Ma older than the earliest prior records in amber. The Triassic specimens are a nematoceran fly (Diptera) and two disparate species of mites, Triasacarus fedelei gen. et sp. nov., and Ampezzoa triassica gen. et sp. nov. These mites are the oldest definitive fossils of a group, the Eriophyoidea, which includes the gall mites and comprises at least 3,500 Recent species, 97% of which feed on angiosperms and represents one of the most specialized lineages of phytophagous arthropods. Antiquity of the gall mites in much their extant form was unexpected, particularly with the Triassic species already having many of their present-day features (such as only two pairs of legs); further, it establishes conifer feeding as an ancestral trait. Feeding by the fossil mites may have contributed to the formation of the amber droplets, but we find that the abundance of amber during the Carnian (ca. 230 Ma) is globally anomalous for the pre-Cretaceous and may, alternatively, be related to paleoclimate. Further recovery of arthropods in Carnian-aged amber is promising and will have profound implications for understanding the evolution of terrestrial members of the most diverse phylum of organisms.

Acari Cheirolepidiaceae phytophagy Carnian Pluvial Event


↵1To whom correspondence should be addressed. Email:

Author contributions: A.R.S., E.R., G.R., and D.A.G. designed research; A.R.S., S.J., E.E.L., E.R., G.R., P.C.N., K.S., T.W., and D.A.G. performed research; A.R.S., E.E.L., E.R, G.R., T.W., and D.A.G. analyzed data; and A.R.S., E.E.L., E.R., G.R., P.C.N., T.W., and D.A.G. wrote the paper.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

*This Direct Submission article had a prearranged editor.

This article contains supporting information online at


Professores, pesquisadores e alunos de universidades públicas e privadas com acesso ao site CAPES/Periódicos podem acessar gratuitamente este artigo do PNAS e de mais 22.440 publicações científicas.



A natureza é RECALCITRANTE em não corroborar as especulações transformistas de Darwin. Já pensou, artrópodos preservados em âmbar de 230 milhões de anos atrás: ESTASE!!! E Stephen Jay Gould, um darwinista honesto, disse que estase são dados!!!