Do you find prehistoric insects fascinating? If not, then you will soon. Insects are one of the few organisms that have existed as early as 400 million years ago. Yup that’s when the earth’s first terrestrial ecosystems were still being formed. Here are 25 prehistoric insects you might not know about.
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Termitaradus dominicanus is an extinct species of termite bug in the family Termitaphididae known from a Miocene fossil found on Hispaniola. It is the third species in the genus Termitaradus to have been described from fossils found in Dominican amber after Termitaradus avitinquilinus and Termitaradus mitnicki.
Nesagapostemon is an extinct monotypic genus of sweat bee that lived many million years ago. The genus name Nesagapostemon is derived from a combination of the Greek nisos, meaning “island,” and Agapostemon, a similar genus of halictids that may be related.
Toxolabis is an extinct genus of earwig in the dermapteran family Anisolabididae known from a Cretaceous fossil found in Burma. The genus contains a single described species, Toxolabis zigrasi.
Dryinus grimaldii is an extinct species of wasp in the dryinid genus Dryinus. The species is solely known from the early Miocene Burdigalian stage, from Dominican amber deposits on the island of Hispaniola.
Anochetus conisquamis is an extinct species of ant in the subfamily Ponerinae known from one possibly Miocene fossil found on Hispaniola. It is one of eight species in the ant genus Anochetus to have been described from fossils found in Dominican amber and is one of a number of Anochetus species found in the Greater Antilles.
Acanthostichus hispaniolicus is an extinct species of ant in the subfamily Dorylinae known from a group of possibly Miocene fossils found on the island of Hispaniola. It is the first species of the ant genus Acanthostichus to have been described from fossils found in Dominican amber and is the only species of Acanthostichus found in the West Indies.
Zophotermes is an extinct genus of termite in the Isoptera family Rhinotermitidae known through two Eocene fossils found in India. The genus contains a single described species, Zophotermes ashoki, placed in the subfamily Prorhinotermitinae.
Ypresiomyrma is an extinct genus of bulldog ants in the subfamily Myrmeciinae, which contains three described species. One species is known from the Isle of Fur in Denmark and the other two are from the McAbee Fossil Beds in British Columbia, Canada.
Prodryas persephone is an extinct butterfly, known from a single specimen from Eocene rocks. It was the first fossil butterfly to be found in North America, and is unusually well preserved. Its closest relatives are the genera Hypanartia and Antanartia.
Ordralfabetix is an extinct genus of planthopper in the family Lophopidae and contains the single species Ordralfabetix sirophatanis. The species is known only from the Early Eocene, Ypresian stage Oise amber from the Quesnoy locality, in the Oise Department, France.
Nanotermes is an extinct genus of termite in the Isoptera family Termitidae, known from only one Eocene fossil found in an amber in the Cambay Basin, which can be found in Gujarat, India. The genus contains a single species, Nanotermes isaacae, placed tentatively in the subfamily Termitinae.
Metanephrocerus is an extinct genus of big-headed flies in the dipteran subfamily Protonephrocerinae, for which it’s one of only two genera. The genus contains four species and is known from a group of Middle Eocene fossils that were found in Europe and a single early Eocene fossil from North America.
Electrostephanus is an extinct genus of crown wasp in the hymenopteran family Stephanidae, and is the only genus placed in the subfamily Electrostephaninae. It is known from several Middle Eocene fossils that were found in Europe.
Archiponera is an extinct genus of ant in the formicid subfamily Ponerinae. The genus contains a single species, Archiponera wheeleri, known from several Late Eocene fossils that were found in North America.
Ainigmapsychops is an extinct genus of lacewing in the silky lacewing family Psychopsidae. The genus is known from an Eocene fossil found in North America. At the time of its description the new genus was composed of a single species, Ainigmapsychops inexspectatus.
Mesojassoides is a genus of extinct leafhopper from the Late Cretaceous period, approximately 66–70 million years ago, found in the Fox Hills Formation in the American Great Plains. The genus contains a single species, Mesojassoides gigantea, described from a forewing found in 1932 by C. H. Dane and W. G. Pierce in Adams County, Colorado.
Haidomyrmodes is an extinct genus of ant in the formicid subfamily Sphecomyrminae, and is one of only three genera placed in the tribe Haidomyrmecini. The genus contains a single species, Haidomyrmodes mammuthus. Haidomyrmodes is known from several Middle Cretaceous fossils, which were found in Europe.
Ektatotricha is an extinct, monotypic genus of antlike stone beetle in the family Staphylinidae containing the single species Ektatotricha paradoxa. The most fascinating part of this one though is its name since it’s a combination of the Greek ektatos, for “extended,” which refers to the visible fifth and sixth abdominal sterna, and tricha, meaning “hair.” The species name, paradoxa, is also from the Greek paradoxon for “riddle.”
Cantabroraphidia is an extinct genus of snakefly in the family Mesoraphidiidae. The genus is solely known from fossil ambers found in Cantabria, in northern Spain, dating to the Albian age of the Early Cretaceous Period.
Amarantoraphidia is an extinct genus of snakefly in the family Mesoraphidiidae. The genus is solely known from the Early Cretaceous, from the subdivision known as the Albian age, which makes it over 100 million years old.
Jurahylobittacus is an extinct genus of hangingfly in the family Bittacidae, which makes it a brother to Formosibittacus. It is known only from the Middle Jurassic Jiulongshan Formation, part of the Daohugou Beds, near the village of Daohugou in Ningcheng County, in northeastern China.
Formosibittacus is another prehistoric and currently extinct genus of hangingfly in the family Bittacidae and it is estimated to be around 170 million years old.
This ancient and extinct genus of griffenfly takes its name from the land known as Bohemia, the historical central European region, and the meganeurid genus Tupus, to which Bohemiatupus is related. As for its age? Way older than any historical human construction.
Rhyniognatha hirsti is the world’s oldest known insect. It emerged during the Early Devonian Period, around 400 million years ago, when Earth’s first terrestrial ecosystems were still being formed.
Allorapisma is an extinct genus of lacewing in the moth lacewings family Ithonidae. The genus is solely known from two Eocene fossils found in North America. At the time of its description the genus was composed of a single species, Allorapisma chuorum.