These Mating Flies Have Been Doing the Unpleasant for 41 Million Years

Sunday, April 5, 2020

Image Source: Jeffrey Stilwell

  • Time-frozen mating flies enclosed in amber were found for the past 41 million years.
  • The flies, still locked in their mating posture, were swallowed by the tree's sap, which then hardened into protective amber that preserved them and allowed paleontologists to study them.
  • Flies are just part of a new collection of amber-covered insects and arachnids found in sites in Australia and New Zealand.
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Have you ever been caught on the spot? You know the act I want to say. I mean when someone visits you and your partner during a beautiful moment of physical activity … If you have, you know how traumatic it can be, so imagine the difficult situation of these two flies that have passed the last 41 years locked in the mating position, dreading the day someone will finally run into them.

Well, that day has come, and the unfortunate flies are now not only the weak eyes of the rest of the insect world, but they are also the stars of a new research article published in Scientific reports. These two prehistoric mistakes will never be experienced.

How Gizmodo The copulating flies are reportedly part of a large group of amber-encrusted insects and arachnids that were obtained from sites in the southern hemisphere, including Australia. This is special because many of the amber fossils discovered through decades and decades of research come from sites in the northern hemisphere such as Myanmar.

Regardless of their origin, amber-colored fossils offer scientists the unique opportunity to look through a window in time. Delicately preserved organisms that could never have survived as fossils on their own are protected by the sap of trees that have hardened for millions upon millions of years.

"Amber is considered a & # 39; Holy Grail & # 39; in the discipline, since organisms are preserved in a state of suspended animation in perfect 3D space, as if they had died yesterday, but in fact they are many millions of years old , which gives us a tremendous amount of information about ancient terrestrial ecosystems, "said Jeffrey Stilwell of the Monash School of Earth, Atmosphere and Environment, lead author of the study.

Flies are just part of the new collection, which also includes ancient ants, juvenile spiders, and mosquitoes. Two species of moss were even found trapped in amber graves. Discoveries like these allow researchers to study ancient species as they were at the time of their unfortunate deaths, often offering new insights into the lives and habits of the little creatures that were trapped in amber.

"This is one of the greatest discoveries in paleontology for Australia," says Stilwell. "The research expands our understanding of the prehistoric southern ecosystems in Australia and New Zealand during the Late Triassic to Middle Paleogene periods (230–40 million years ago)."

Mike Wehner has reported on technology and video games for the past decade, covering the latest news and trends in virtual reality, handheld devices, smartphones, and future technology.

Most recently, Mike served as technical editor at The Daily Dot, and has appeared on USA Today,, and countless other websites and in print. His love for
the reports are second only to his addiction to games.