Image of the Day: Ancient Moth Wings

The 200-million-year-old fossils, the earliest found of lepidopterans, show characteristics of extant moths.

By The Scientist Staff | January 12, 2018

Scanning electron microscope (SEM) image of scales on the wings and body of a Glossatan mothHOSSEIN RAJAEI

Researchers in Germany have found the earliest known fossil evidence of insects from the order Lepidoptera. By analyzing a drilled sediment core that dates to the Triassic-Jurassic boundary, they discovered that ancient moths shared morphological characteristics with living moths in the suborder Glossata, including a tubular feeding device called a proboscis.

T.J.B. van Eldijk et al. “A Triassic-Jurassic window into the evolution of Lepidoptera,” Science Advances, doi:10.1126/sciadv.1701568, 2018.

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