Hanging Around in the Jurassic
Living species of hangingflies can be found, as the name suggests, hanging beneath foliage where they capture other insects as food. They are a lineage of scorpionflies charactersized by their skinny bodies, two pairs of narrow wings, and long threadlike legs. A new fossil species, Juracimbrophlebia ginkgofolia, has been found along with preserved leaves of a gingko-like tree, Yimaia capituliformis, in Middle Jurassic deposits in the Jiulongshan Formation in China’s Inner Mongolia. The two look so similar that they are easily confused in the field and represent a rare example of an insect mimicking a gymnosperm, 165 million years ago, before the explosive radiation of flowering plants.
Wang, Y., Labandeira, C.C., Shih, C., Ding, Q., Wang, C., Zhao, Y., and D. Ren. 2012. Jurassic mimicry between a hangingfly and a ginkgo from China. PNAS 109, 20515-19.
Ms. Chen Wang