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Damsel in distress


Flies trapped in amber are providing clues to ancient mating behaviour.


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Typical, isn’t it? There you are, trying impress a potential mate when all of sudden a great dollop of sticky amber lands on you and that’s you stuck there for the next 80 million years.

On the day in question, somewhere around the middle of the Cretaceous Period, the amber captured three prehistoric male damsel flies (Yijenplatycnemis huangi) in the act of courtship.

Their recent discovery by a team led by Zheng Daran and Wang Bo from Nanjing Institute of Geology and Palaeontology in China has provided paleontologists and entomologists with a very rare glimpse of ancient insect mating behavior.

The find was recorded in the journal Scientific Reports.

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Andrew Masterson is news editor of Cosmos.
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