Uncommon Descent Serving The Intelligent Design Community

Mites have parasitized ants for 45 mya longer than thought

arroba Email

Stasis classic, from the Eocene, specimen dated from about 44 to 49 mya.

From Nature: News:

In a paper published on 10 September in Biology Letters, Dunlop and his collaborators identify the mite as belonging to the genus Myrmozercon, which includes numerous species still alive today. An air bubble trapped between the two invertebrates hides some anatomical features, making it hard to identify the exact species. Mites are arachnids, a class of eight-legged arthropods that includes spiders and scorpions.

From National Geographic:

Dunlop and his colleagues studied the specimen under a microscope and created images of what they saw. The results reveal the mite belongs to a family whose living species are thought to parasitize ants, and the ant is of the species Ctenobethylus goepperti.

Mites are often found living with ants, though scientists don’t know exactly what the mites do to the ants. But the discovery offers a new clue by showing that the phenomenon has occurred for at least 45 million years—much longer than thought.

Here’s the abstract:

Fossil mesostigmatid mites (Acari: Parasitiformes: Mesostigmata) are extremely rare, and specimens from only nine families, including four named species, have been described so far. A new record of Myrmozercon sp. described here from Eocene (ca 44-49 Myr) Baltic amber represents the first-and so far only-fossil example of the derived, extant family Laelapidae. Significantly, modern species of this genus are habitually myrmecophilous and the fossil mite described here is preserved attached to the head of the dolichoderine ant Ctenobethylus goepperti (Mayr, 1868). It thus offers the oldest unequivocal evidence for an ecological association between mesostigmatid mites and social insects in the order Hymenoptera. (paywall)

File under: Earlier than thought

See also:

300 mya Harvester: “The fossil record is proving to be less and less Darwinian as we examine the details.”


For daddy longlegs, evolution never happened, it seems

Follow UD News at Twitter!

FWIW, our ancestors 45 million years ago were already primates, tarsier-like memebers of the Haplorrhini. I don't know what this has to do with the OP, though. wd400
ppolish, I got last few hundred years via reading comprehension and elementary arithmetic. Tthe title says 45 millions years longer, the fossil is 45 million years old. So I guess scientists had previously thought mites took up the parasitic life style 45 -45 = 0 million years ago? Or News' mile-wide inch-deep approach to science journalism lead to many basic errors? wd400
WD, where did you read "last few hundred years"? Article clearly states 45mya, "much earlier than thought" What were humans 45mya? Evolutionists tell us we were hamsters or weasels or whatnot. Mited Ants crawling on weasels 45mya, Mited Ants crawling on humans today. Evolution does/doesn't do wonders huh. ppolish
WD400: " Do you even read these things?" Read, yes. Comprehend, no. Acartia_bogart
That who first thought. The fossil is ~45 million year old. Did scientists previously think that mites took up ant-parasitism in the last few hundred years? Do you even read these things? wd400
Mung: "I hope we don’t have 45m more years of A_b and ilk parasitizing UD to look forward to." Parasitizing? I prefer to think of it as a symbiosis. Of maybe even an evolutionary advance. Acartia_bogart
I hope we don't have 45m more years of A_b and ilk parasitizing UD to look forward to. Mung

Leave a Reply