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HomeTop NewsJurassic Lacewings imitated lichen to hide from predators | Paleontology

Jurassic Lacewings imitated lichen to hide from predators | Paleontology

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Paleontologists in China have found fossil evidence of a simulated link between two species of worm lacewings and the fossil lichen that occur together. Daohugouthallus ciliiferus. Discovery, a Paper In the journal eLife, Predicts modern lichen-insect communities of 165 million years, indicating that by the middle of the Mesozoic period, the lichen-insect mimetic system was well established and provided lacewings with stunning survival techniques.

The ecological reconstruction of the 165-million-year-old Layswing imitates a lichen that existed during the same period. Image Credit: Sioren Suo.

Many modern insects imitate other creatures or use oblivion to hide from predators. For example, some animals mimic the lichens formed by algae and fungi and grow all over the world, from the Arctic to the desert.

The pepper worm is the best example of an insect that mimics a species of lichen.

During the Industrial Revolution, dark-colored worms were the best to survive. As the revolution came to an end and pollution levels declined, lichen species began to re-emerge and the survival of pale worms increased.

However, since specific examples of insects mimicking lichens are not found in the fossil record, it is not clear how and when insects developed this survival strategy.

“Since there are almost no lichen models in the mimicry fossil record, it is still unclear when and how the imitation relationship between the lichen and the insect first formed,” said Hui Fang, Ph.D., lead author. Student of the Academy of Multidisciplinary Studies, College of Life Sciences, Capitol Normal University.

“The key to answering this question is to find early examples of lichen-like insects and accompanying lichen fossils.”

Contemporary lichen daohugattalus silicon-imitating laissez-faire lice (L) Lichenipolistococcus (A) photo (BC) lichen;  Photos (AC) are on the same scale;  (D) a photograph of the almost indestructible lichen talus of Davohugathallus siliferus;  (E) photo of Lichenipolistocots angustimaculatus with winged pattern imitating lichen;  (F, red and green dots represent the measurement results of the branch pattern widths of the lichen-imitating lacewing and thallus width of the two lichen models, respectively);  (G) part of the winged pattern of Lichenipolistocots ramimaculatus with irregular winged spots;  (H, I) part of the thallus of Davohugathallus siliferus with irregular spot-like punctiform picnidia;  Dark arrows point to the wing spots of Lichenipolistocots ramimaculatus and Daohugauthallas siliferus thallas.  Scale bars - 5 mm (AE), 1 mm (GI).  Image credit: Fang et al., Doi: 10.7554 / eLife.59007.

Lichen-mimicking lacewing Lichenipolistocots ramimaculatus And Lichenipolistocots angustimaculatus Fossils of contemporary lichen Daohugouthallus ciliiferus: (A) Part of the photo Lichenipolistocots ramimaculatus, With a forwarding pattern that mimics a lichen; (BC) Photos of lichen tallas Daohugouthallus ciliiferus, (B) the thallus segment and (c) the entire thallus; Photos (AC) are on the same scale; (D) Photo of the almost harmless lichen talus Daohugouthallus ciliiferus; (E) Photo of Lichenipolistocots angustimaculatus With a winged pattern that mimics a lichen; (F) Box scatter plots of measurement data showing lower and upper extremities, lower and upper quartile, average and average (in blue dotted line) of branch widths Lichenipolistocots ramimaculatusLicking forward pattern and thallus branch width Daohugouthallus ciliiferus Separately (black, red, and green dots represent the branch pattern width of the two lichen models, respectively, and the measurement results of the lichen-imitating lace swing and thallus width); Part of the winged pattern of (g) Lichenipolistocots ramimaculatus, Irregularly winged spots; Part of the thallus of (H, I) Daohugouthallus ciliiferus, With punctiform picnidia as an irregular spot; Dark arrows indicate spots on the wings Lichenipolistocots ramimaculatus And tallas Daohugouthallus ciliiferus. Scale bars – 5 mm (AE), 1 mm (GI). Image credit: Fang And others, doi: 10.7554 / eLife.59007.

Fang and colleagues discovered the deposit in the Daohu 1 area of ​​Inner Mongolia in northeastern China, which shows a 165 million year old lichen mimesis.

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Samples include two items Lichenipolistocots, A newly described genus within the moth Leswing family Ethonide, Similar to the current lichen from the Middle Jurassic Age.

The researchers documented this mimetic relationship by describing structural similarities and detailed measurements of lacewing and lichen.

When lacewings are named, their effects are indicated Lichenipolistocots ramimaculatus And Lichenipolistocots angustimaculatus, Lichens rest in rich habitats, and a perfect match for their appearance can help hide insects from predators.

“Our findings indicate that a micro-ecosystem of lichens and insects existed in northeastern China 165 million years ago,” said senior author Dr.

“This adds to our current understanding of the interactions between insects in the Mesozoic period and their surroundings, and indicates that there are many interesting insects awaiting discovery.”


Hui Fang And others. 2020. Lichen mimesis in miso-Mesozoic lacewings. eLife 9: e59007; doi: 10.7554 / eLife.59007

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