Image of the Day: Ancient Moth Wings

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

Jan 12, 2018
The Scientist Staff

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.