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Fossil Shows Insect Jumping Out Of Its Skin

August 1st, 2016

A stick insect and a mushroom were both found encased within a chunk of amber near the Baltic region of Europe recently. Although this find may not sound too exciting, entomologists are fascinated with it because the fossil reveals a little known defensive mechanism that is not shared with many insects alive today.

The fossil is estimated to be fifty million years old. The bug located inside of the fossil appears to be a young stick insect. The fossil shows a stick insect alongside a mushroom. The fossil also contains the stick insect’s exoskeleton, which indicates that the bug jumped out of it. The reason why the bug left its skin behind has baffled some researchers. However, many researchers believe that the stick insect was making a meal out of the mushroom, but the mushroom secreted a fluid that made the stick insect adhere to the mushrooms surface. Unlike most insects alive today, the fossilized stick insect shows that it escaped from the mushrooms goo by literally jumping out of its own skin. Researches have never seen a scene like this preserved within amber before.

Which other species of insect escapes predators by escaping or using its discarded exoskeleton?

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