Praying Mantis in Cretaceous Fossil Amber

Cf Jersimantis luzzii

Class Insecta, Order Mantodea

Geological Time: Late Cretaceous, Turonian Stage (~90 million years ago)

Size: Amber: 15 mm long by 12 mm across, Inclusions: 1 and 7 mm

Fossil Site: Raritan Formation, Sayreville, New Jersey, USA

Jersimantis luzzii Preying Mantis in Cretaceous Fossil AmberDescription: This plaque of amber displays a most uncommon inclusion: a preying mantis. The oldest amber containing insects comes from the deposits of Lebanon at some 135 million years of age. Deposits in Myanmar, New Jersey, and Japan are somewhat younger. To date, mantids have been found in all but Myanmar, albeit generally only as a single sample. This immature mantis is only the SECOND of which I am aware, with the other found in the collections of the American Museum of Natural History in New York City. The other was discovered in 1996 and named Jersimantis luzzi. I have no reson to believe that this one is not the same species, but I will ascribe to it the name CF Jersimantis luzzii just to be conservative. Mantis specimens of any age are rare, with this one some 40 million years older than any Baltic material and some 65 million years older than the few from the Dominican Republic.

Also see: Cretaceous praying mantis from Myanmar

Reference: AMNH Novitates, No. 3404, 1997.

Jersimantis luzzii

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