Insect found in resin that could look at 360 ° and catch food with sticky paws

With bulging eyes, a protruding mouth, and legs dripping with resin, a fossil insect

identified by Oregon State University researchers is so different from all living things today that it was assigned to a separate extinct family. Discuss

George Poinar Jr., Distinguished Professor at the OSU College of Science, named the insect Palaeotanyrhina exophthalma in an article published in the journal BioOne Complete.

P body length.exophthalma is just over 5 millimeters. It shares some features with members of the Reduvoidea superfamily, but its long labium (lower mouth), head shape, and veins on the forewings make it impossible to place it in any of the modern Reduvoidea families, Poinar said. So he assigned it to a new, extinct family: Palaeotanyrhinidae.


"His eyes provided a 360-degree view of the habitat, so he could see prey that could come from any direction," Poinard said.

Another strange feature of this fossil is the extended sheath on the last segment of the front of the leg.

"This case was filled with a resinous substance," Poinar said. "The sticky substance was produced by skin glands and helped the insect grab potential prey."