Scientists discover distant relatives of gardeners' friend

March 6, 2013
This fossilized wing of an ancient green lacewing insect's wing is one of SFU scientist Bruce Archibald's many new discoveries in Republic, Washington State.

(Phys.org) —In a new article published in the Journal of Paleontology, two paleontologists, including one from Simon Fraser University, describe the most diverse group of fossilized green lacewing insects known.

Green lacewings are familiar to gardeners, who value them in organic pest control, for their consumption of large numbers of aphids. The closest modern relatives to these insects are most diverse in southeastern Australia, the southwestern United States and northwestern Mexico.

SFU's Bruce Archibald and the ' Vladimir Makarkin named the first species of green lacewings from a series of 49- to 53-million-year-old stretching across southern British Columbia into Washington State.

Makarkin and Archibald examined 24 fossils from the region, including some that they'd found and others belonging to regional museums, estimating that these contained at least 10 new species. Some of these fossils had minute details so finely preserved that six species could be given names.

SFU scientist Bruce Archibald has co-discovered a new species of a distant relative of a gardener's friend in B.C.'s Driftwood Canyon area.

Most of the new species are from the famed McAbee locality, near Cache Creek, B.C., which the provincial government recently named a heritage site. "This is a small sample of the treasures that this world-class locality has to offer," says Archibald.

Other fossils described by Archibald and Makarkin come from Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park in B.C.'s Bulkley Valley near Smithers, and from the United States in Republic, Washington State.

The scientists named one of the new from Driftwood Canyon Provincial Park Pseudochrysopa harveyi in honour of the late area resident Gordon Harvey, recognizing his great generosity. He donated the beds to B.C. Parks in 1967.

"The fossils from these localities have a lot left to tell us, not only as a window into ancient life of the deep past, but also about how our modern natural communities were formed," says Archibald. "So, stay tuned."

Explore further: Ancient insects shed light on biodiversity

More information: The scientists' paper, A diverse new assemblage of green lacewings (Insecta, Neuroptera, Chrysopidae) from the early Eocene Okanagan Highlands, western North America, can be downloaded free from: brucearchibald.com/

Related Stories

Ancient insects shed light on biodiversity

February 8, 2013

(Phys.org)—Simon Fraser University evolutionary biologists Bruce Archibald and Rolf Mathewes, and Brandon University biologist David Greenwood, have discovered that modern tropical mountains' diversity patterns extended ...

Scientists possibly unlock biodiversity door

July 15, 2010

(PhysOrg.com) -- Looking for the answer to why the tropical Amazonian rainforest has more bird, plant and insect life than Vancouver Island’s temperate rainforest has been like looking for a needle in a haystack. That is ...

Giant fossil ants linked to global warming

May 4, 2011

(PhysOrg.com) -- Four paleontologists, including two at Simon Fraser University, have discovered the fossil of a gigantic ant whose globetrotting sheds light on how global warming events affected the distribution of life ...

Recommended for you

Metacognition training boosts gen chem exam scores

October 20, 2017

It's a lesson in scholastic humility: You waltz into an exam, confident that you've got a good enough grip on the class material to swing an 80 percent or so, maybe a 90 if some of the questions go your way.

Scientists see order in complex patterns of river deltas

October 19, 2017

River deltas, with their intricate networks of waterways, coastal barrier islands, wetlands and estuaries, often appear to have been formed by random processes, but scientists at the University of California, Irvine and other ...

Six degrees of separation: Why it is a small world after all

October 19, 2017

It's a small world after all - and now science has explained why. A study conducted by the University of Leicester and KU Leuven, Belgium, examined how small worlds emerge spontaneously in all kinds of networks, including ...

Ancient DNA offers new view on saber-toothed cats' past

October 19, 2017

Researchers who've analyzed the complete mitochondrial genomes from ancient samples representing two species of saber-toothed cats have a new take on the animals' history over the last 50,000 years. The data suggest that ...

0 comments

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.