Fleas evolution

It has been recently discovered flea fossils from the Mesozoic era. This fossils have appeared in China and they present extaordinary features that show the evolution fleas have experimented since that time.

This insects were five or ten times size current fleas and they sucked the blood from ancient dinasours and other beasts. They presented long sucking tubes, and spines and claws on their body, this shows that they probably lived on animals with fur or feathers.

The fleas' long, serrated piercing tubes and grasping claws suggest they were adapted to feed on hairy animals or feathered dinosaurs.

Unlike current fleas, they were not jumping insects, they hadn’t yet evolved jumping legs. Therefore, they probably crawl through the fur and feathers of the animals thay came across.

As it is mentioned before, this insects were much more bigger than current fleas. Some of the fossils are almost 2cm long. Some of them were found at an ancient lake, what indicates that either animals got the fleas off water or died near them.

Addiotionally, the well preservation of the fossils allow paleontologists to identify many of the characteristics of this “tiny” animals. There were also some differences between sexes. Female fleas had longer bodies and mouthparts, with larger sucking tubes; male fleas had their genitalia exposed.

The articles was published in The Guardian, although the original source is the journal Nature. At the original source there is a small summary about the article and some photographs of these discoveries are available.

In my opinion, this research has quite an important result. It allows the world to know more about how some species evolved and to find out how their life conditions were. Knowing about the past helps to understand what is going on at the moment. This kind of animals, insects, in this case fleas, might be seen as irrelevant, but they have their role in nature and are as important as bigger animals.

Estas entrada foi publicada en Curso 2011-2012, Evolución, paleontoloxía coas etiquetas , . Ligazón permanente.

2 Responses to Fleas evolution

  1. Very good! You´ve caught the original idea as I can see in your title. Which is the main issue emphasized in Nature’s abstract? Is it mentioned in the Guardian’s article?

    Moreover, the preservation quality that can be seen in the pictures inside the ‘Supplementary information’ pdf is really impressive. You also have a phylogeny represented as a cladogram among the figures. You can get this cladogram with better resolution in http://entomoblog.net/Pulgas-gigantes-del-Mesozoico.html

  2. I really like what you’ve found. It is always interesting to find new fossils, so we can learn more about evolution.
    You have explained very good everything from the original source and I don’t see any mistake.
    I agree with your opinion: it is always good to learn more about our past.

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