The 160-million-year-old water bug fossil is the earliest example of insects protecting their offspring.

Fossils of 160-million-year-old water bugs discovered in China show they carried clusters of eggs on their feet, the earliest example of insects protecting their offspring until they hatch.

  • Fossilized remains of ancient water bugs found in China
  • Fossils show that the beetles carried clutches of eggs on one of their three legs.
  • At 160 million years old, they are the earliest known way of caring for bread in insects.

Fossils of an ancient water beetle that lived 160 million years ago show that the tiny insect carried clusters of eggs on its paws.

Clusters of eggs, while unique, are the earliest known way of caring for bread in insects – this case is 38 million years older than previous evidence.

Bread care refers to the parent protecting their eggs before they hatch and not leaving them after they have been laid.

The fossils were discovered in rock deposits near the village of Daohugou in northeast China. China and 30 specimens were identified as females with eggs hanging from their left “mesotibia”—the insect’s middle leg of three.

The eggs are attached to the stem and wiggle as the insect walks, allowing oxygen to flow through the eggs for the growth of developing offspring.

Fossils of an ancient water beetle that lived 160 million years ago show that the tiny insect carried clusters of eggs on its paws.

Only about one percent of insect species exhibit parental care, such as earwigs grooming their eggs to remove harmful mold spores.

Then there is the giant male water bug, an ancestor of one that lived 160 million years ago, who carries the eggs on his back until they hatch.

The newly discovered fossils show details of the water beetle’s abdomen, legs, and the area where a cluster of eggs once hung. living science.

According to the fossils, the eggs were densely packed up to six rows, with seven eggs per row.

Egg-laying, while unique, is the earliest known way of caring for bread in insects, a case 38 million years older than previous evidence.  Brood care means that the parent protects their eggs before they hatch and does not leave them after they have been laid.

Egg-laying, while unique, is the earliest known way of caring for bread in insects, a case 38 million years older than previous evidence. Brood care means that the parent protects their eggs before they hatch and does not leave them after they have been laid.

The eggs, 0.04 to 0.05 inches across, are attached to short “stems” that protrude from the adult leg, which is only about 0.5 inches long.

Water bugs, or the so-called Karataviella popovi, laid their eggs right on their feet.

This was done by releasing a sticky mucus to bind the eggs to the limb.

“The unoccupied right tibia may have been used to maintain balance while swimming and feeding,” the article says. study.

Only about one percent of insect species exhibit parental care, such as the earwig (pictured) grooming its eggs to remove harmful mold spores.

Only about one percent of insect species exhibit parental care, such as the earwig (pictured) grooming its eggs to remove harmful mold spores.

Because the eggs are large, carrying them through the water helped oxygen circulate to the larva inside.

“As far as we know, carrying a bunch of eggs [one] the foot is a unique strategy among insects, but it is not uncommon in aquatic arthropods, “referring to crustaceans,” the study authors wrote.

“Our discovery pushes back evidence of ultimate brooding behavior in insects by nearly 38 million years, helping to understand the evolutionary and adaptive significance of brood care in insects.

“Furthermore, our discovery indicates that the specialized trawl filter apparatus of K. popovi is likely a preliminary device originally used to catch the eggs of even-aged anostracans (fairy shrimp) for food.”