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hajar | profile | all galleries >> Amber Galleries >> Burmese Cretaceous Amber tree view | thumbnails | slideshow

Burmese Cretaceous Amber

Amber is in some ways the best preserving medium of fossil plants and animals known. The fossils are preserved in three dimensions, with great surface detail, and allow snapshots of interactions between animals - such as an ectoparasitic mite sucking the haemolymph of its victim, a swarm of nematodes parasitizing a beetle, acts of mating, and an ant queen carrying her domesticated honeydew provider. No other style of exceptional fossil preservation can compare.

The oldest ambers with included animal fossils date back to the Cretaceous (though now in 2012 there's a single Triassic case), with the best known occurrences being those from Lebanon, France, Burma and New Jersey (USA). This small collection contains examples from Burma. They are of earliest Cenomanian (a little less than 100 Ma) age and come from Main Khun, Tanai Township, Kachin State, Burma. Burmese amber was formed by a conifer, perhaps Metasequoia, in a tropical palaeoenvironment (Grimaldi et al 2002).
Metasequoia leafy shoot with opposing leaflets (see Grimaldi et al. 2002), 24 mm long. Leafy shoot, 4 mm long, with beetle, in Burmese amber Leaf, 2 mm, in Burmese amber 3 mm angiosperm flower in Burmese amber Burmese amber flowers, 6 stamens are visible and a style which splits into three. Flower, 8 mm, with a single petal preserved. 6 stamens and a style which splits into three visible.
12 mm angiosperm leaf with bristletail. An exquisite fertile fern from Myanmar. Cretacifilix fertile fern pinnae showing sori (clusters of sporangia). Cretacifilix fertile fern pinnae showing sori (clusters of sporangia). Complete lizard (stem squamate) in Burmese amber, 3 cm along curve. Exquisitely preserved 10 mm feather with preserved terminations in 15 mm amber specimen.
Feather detail Land snail. Burma amber centipede.jpg Large Scolopendromorph centipede, ca 5 cm along the curve in 63 mm amber.  I see a single pair of ocelli. Large Scolopendromorph centipede, ca 5 cm along the curve in 63 mm amber. I see a single pair of ocelli. Polyxenid millipede (the numerous legs rule out dermestid beetle larva!) in Burmese amber, 4 mm.
Polyxenid, remarkably caught in the act of moulting, in Burmese amber. One of a swarm. Fangs, eyes and cephalothorax (with white stripes) of araneaeid spider, filling 16 mm burmite amber. Fangs, eyes and cephalothorax (with white stripes) of araneaeid spider, filling 16 mm burmite amber. Detail of the front four eyes of the araneaeid spider. Minute pyrite crystals are present in the centre of each eye. Fangs, eyes and cephalothorax (with white stripes) of araneaeid spider, filling 16 mm burmite amber. A complete 6 mm spider in Burmite amber from Myanmar.
Large mite, Bryobia Praetiosa (Acari:Tetranychidae), 12 mm amber specimen. Burma acari Oribatid mite (Acari), 1 mm, in Burmese amber Mite (Acari) in Burmese amber, <1mm Mite (Acari) with tiny attached tortoise mite in Burmese amber Mite (Acari) in Burmese amber, <1mm
Springtails (Collembola), the largest is 2 mm long, in Burmese amber Springtail (Collembola), 2 mm, in Burmese amber A remarkable complete Cretaceous mantis, about 27 mm long. This is a female individual. Damselfly, 23 mm in 34 mm piece of amber. Damselfly, 23 mm in 34 mm piece of amber. weevil (Coleoptera, Curculionoidea) in burmite amber.
Beetle (Coleoptera, Mordellidae?) in Burmese amber, about 1 mm Beetle (Coleoptera) in Burmese amber, 1.5 mm Rove beetle (Coleoptera, Staphylinidae) in Burmese amber, 1.5 mm 9 mm beetle. 4 mm scaley beetle in Burmese amber Cockroach, 4 mm in Burmese amber
Owlfly larva, 3 mm. Burma mantispid, about 9 mm across. Burma mantispid, about 9 mm across. Burma mantispid, about 9 mm across. Neuroptera (Berothidae), 7 mm, and small cecidomyiid midge in Burmese amber Cricket in Burmese amber.
Scale insect (Coccoidea), 1 mm, in Burmese amber Unique-headed bug (Enicocephalidae), 2 mm, in association with club fungus Paleoclavaria burmitis and a beetle (not shown) EnicoCaddis1000.jpg Barklouse (Psocoptera), 3 mm in Burmese amber Aleyrodoidea (white fly), 2 mm in Burmese amber Ant in Cretaceous amber, 8 mm, Myanmar.
Ant in Cretaceous amber, 8 mm, Myanmar. Ant in Cretaceous amber, 8 mm, Myanmar. Ant with very elongate jaws. The individual resin flow event that trapped this ant is clearly seen. Haidomyrmex 1.jpg Wasp (Hymenoptera, Scelionidae), 1 mm in Burmese amber (my very first piece of Burmese amber). 2mm wasp (Hymenoptera, Scelionidae) in Burmese amber
Hymenoptera, 1 mm, in Burmese amber Hymenoptera (pompilidae?) in Burmese amber, about 3 mm long Hymenoptera, 2 mm, in Burmese amber Fairyfly, a tiny parasitoid chalcid wasp Nematocera, male fungus gnat or gall midge, 3 mm in Burmese amber detail
Biting midge (Ceratopogonidae), 3 mm in Burmese amber. Similar to Culicoides grandibocus which may have fed on dinosaurs. Nematocera, 3 mm, in Burmese amber Female non-biting midge (Nematocera, Chironomidae), 1.5 mm, in Burmese amber Nematocera releasing eggs Burmacyrtus rusmithi Grimaldi & Hauser 2011, acrocerid fly, 2 mm, in Burmese amber Fly with large mouthparts (Brachycera, Rhagionidae), 3 mm, in Burmese amber.
Snipe fly (Brachycera, Rhagionidae) in Burmese amber, part of a swarm of several indviduals Snipe fly (Brachycera, Rhagionidae) in Burmese amber, part of a swarm of several indviduals