It’s been an extraordinary year for things preserved in amber, with snails, flowers, ants and even a whole group of insects being found. Now, a new species of beetle has been found encased in amber, marking the first fossilized beetle sperm ever found.
The specimen was named Dominican Supella because it is surrounded by Dominican amber. This is believed to be the first fossilized cockroach sperm ever found.
“It is well-preserved, with a transverse yellow stripe across the wings and a central vertical yellow band that appears to divide the body into two,” said George Poinar Jr., professor emeritus at the USU College of Science, who identified the species.
The first fossilized cockroach sperm is tens of millions of years old
“Also interesting is the sperm-producing organ, which contains sperm with dark acrosomes, structures that cover the sperm head, because fossil sperm are rare,” says the professor.
The specimen is believed to be around 30 million years old and is the only ectobiidae beetle to have been discovered in the Dominican Republic. This is unusual because the specimen has no living relatives in the Dominican Republic or the West Indies.
Of the 10 species in the genus Supella9 live in the Ethiopian zoogeographic region and one in the Arabian Peninsula, he notes IFL Science.
The specimen is 7 millimeters long and comes from an amber mine in the northern mountain range between Puerto Plata and Santiago.
Cockroaches, helpers or pests?
Although there are about 4,000 species of cockroaches, only about 30 of them come into contact with humans and an even smaller number are considered pests. Cockroaches are quite famous for their indestructibility and are even trained for search and rescue.
The work is published in Biology.