Chiapas Amber (Mexico)

Item 1

Shells of terrestrial snails (Gastropoda: Pulmonata and Prosobranchia) are rare in amber.  Shells of terrestrial snails in Mexican amber have been identified as Spiraxis sp. (Spiraxidae), a member of the Ferussaciidae.   Shells are some of the rarest fossils in amber.  They are normally very small and very rare.

Snails are indicative of a tropical or subtropical climates which  include Hispaniola and other Antillean islands in their present-day ranges.

This particular piece of amber reminds me of a brick. It is about 2 inches long by .75 x .75 inches.   Quite an attractive piece of amber.

Here is a scanned image of the snail next to a ruler so you can see the actual size.


Item 2

A lovely piece that will fit anyone's collection.  There are 6 winged termites flying in this piece of Chiapas amber.   These are males which normally shed their wings after mating - but these have their wings.  A very nice piece.

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Item 3

There are a lot of things that I really like in amber, spider's webs are at the top of the list.  It is just cool stuff.  This piece has a lot of the spider web still in the amber.....not all pushed together, but as if someone gently laid down the web in the resin.   Not only that, but the spider is here also.  This is a fantastic piece.

It is about 1.5 x 1 x .5 inches in size and weighs 10 grams.  There is what looks like part of an amber tube in this piece.

You are going to love this piece.  Fun to investigate where the web strands really go.  Enjoy.

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Item 4


As if anything preserved in Amber as a fossil is not phenomenal enough, finding a true rarity as a primary inclusion is very special. This simply amazing offering consists of a relatively tiny example of the inky cap family of mushrooms displayed permanently in a small, golden specimen weighing a mere 1.79 grams. On an ancient forest floor, mushrooms flourished amid lichens and mosses with clusters of the fungi variety bearing fruiting structures likely lasting only a short time - just long enough for them to 'release' spores. Located near the periphery of the wedge-shaped piece of fossilized tree resin, the unlikely and intriguing prehistoric remnant is captivating and quite surreal. Any Amber collector would find this one irresistible.
Measurements: 0.72 x 0.69 x 0.31 inches (1.82 x 1.75 x 0.78 cm)

Try as you may, you will never see another mushroom up for sale.  It seems that since they are soooo rare, every mushroom is worth a write up in any scientific journal.  and this one is so good.

In the forest floor, here and there among the lichens and mosses flourished mushrooms and strange branching clusters of fungi know as dead man's fingers.  The fruiting structures of these fungi probably never lasted for more than a day or two, just long enough for them to release spores.  This tiny mushroom is probably one of the smallest members of the inky cap family,  It probably was clustered together with others of its kind on the bark of the algarrobo tree.

Mushrooms are just so rare that I never thought I would have one up for sale- not to mention that this is a beautiful specimen.

Here is a scanned image of the mushroom next to a ruler so you can see the actual size.

Hard to believe, but the price on this rare, rare specimen is fantastic (to the good).



Item 5

I love this piece.  It is a spider, but it reminds me of an octopus (it is a spider!).  Great shape to the amber and while the spider is not large, it is easily seen.  This could be made into a nice pendant.

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Item 6

There are only 50 or 60 amber scorpions in the world today.  The picture above shows one of the most beautiful scorpions ever found, with slightly open pincers and a raised stinger that presents a perfect picture.  Its body is about .7 inches long.  Before mating, the male and female engage their pincers and move back and forth as if dancing.  When the male drops its sperm capsule, the female picks it up and keeps it for fertilization.  You specimens are often carried on the back of the mothers until they become mature.

Probably family Buthidae, this specimen is seen best from the ventral side.  This is as rare as they get and it is priced as an unbelievable deal for anyone.


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Item 7

Dragon flies, Odonata, are just not normally found in amber.  Their numbers world-wide are VERY small - just a handful.  Here we present a nice dragonfly (Chiapas amber)  where the body is long-ways and the wings are almost perpendicular to the body.  The abdomen appears to be hollow.

This specimen is one of our own collection.  Of course you can see the world's largest collection of dragonflies in amber.

You probably have never even seen a dragonfly in amber - but here it is.


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Item 8


Item 9

Item 10

Sometimes people think there is nothing special about a 'simple' fly.  This is beautiful!  the details are unbelievable - the eyes.......  This is a piece that is shaped perfectly for a pendant.  A band of silver or gold and a clasp - this is it.

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Item 11

One of the largest flowers I have ever seen.  You are talking 1.5 inches from the end of one filament to another.  I tried looking this up but could not find anything like it.  I have seen (last year) one other similar to this. A true ID I cannot give you.  This is a large piece of Chiapas amber, the flower on one side and a winged termite on the other.  The amber is clear and quite a specimen.  It is rare like number 8 above.

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Item 12

Mantids (or mantis) are characterized by a lengthened thorax (chest) and a head that can turn 180 degrees.  They typically carry their barbed front legs in an attack position.  It looks like a praying position, giving them the nickname "praying mantis."  They could very well be called "praying mantis" because they are fierce and fearless, attacking prey from insects to small animals like lizards.  The female often devours the male after mating; this also occurs between nymphs.  They are very rare in amber and prized by collectors.

The amber is clear and about 1.25 x 1  x .5 inches.  The mantis is just off center.  The mantis has beautiful features, you can see the facets of the eye (microscope) and the entire body very well. On the other side of the mantis is a fungus gnat, Diptera: Mycetophylidae.  Also there is a medium sized spider.

Here is a scanned image of the praying mantis next to a ruler so you can see the actual size.

Insect Order Phasmida (the stick or leaf insects) is believed to have appeared in the Lower Triassic and is one of the most interesting Orders in Subphylum Insecta. They are a poignant example of the innovation of natural selection in creating stealth for survival. They typically are either stick-like or leaf-like in appearance, (this one is a stick)  a camouflage or mimicry that is their common characteristic; many will also play possum for hours. "Phasmid" is derived from the Latin term for phantom (phasma), and finding them in the wild can be very difficult for even an experienced collector. You might correctly guess then, that fossil Phasmida are exceedingly rare -- hence the paucity of specimens. They do not have their hindlegs adapted for jumping as in the closely related order Orthoptera (grasshoppers, katydids, crickets and relatives). Unlike many insects, they make superb pets. A phasmid will usually live from one to two years, depending on the species. Sexual dimorphism is usually extreme with diminutive males. Some species are completely or partially parthenogenetic. They extend their evolutionary stealth to their eggs that are large and often closely resemble plant seeds This allows the females to lay viable eggs without a mate; indeed there are some species in which males are unknown to exist. Some 2500 species of Phasmids are extant.


Item 13

Orthopterans have strong back legs and muscles, features that allow them to jump high and far.  Their thorax looks like a saddle. The organs on both sides of a grasshopper's first abdominal segment are for hearing, while crickets have the hearing organs on their front legs.   Crickets and some grasshoppers rub one front wing against the other to make their well-known rasping sound.

Crickets can be seen is amber since their jumping around makes it easy for them to become victims of resin.  Larger cricket specimens in amber attract many collectors.

This specimen is about 2.25 x 1.25 x .25 inches.  The amber is clear and the cricket is large.  There is a beautiful full leaf in one portion of the amber.

Here is a scanned image of the cricket next to a ruler so you can see the actual size.


Item 14

Mosquitoes are exceedingly rare in amber.  I find mosquitoes maybe 2 times a year.  They are just so rare that I never expect to find any in the many thousands of pieces that I run across.

If you have ever cut down a pine tree and noticed the beautiful smell that emanates from cut surface, you will understand why so many insects are attracted by the odor.  Mosquitoes are not attracted to the smell, the go for carbon dioxide and heat.  Because of that you will not find mosquitoes in amber.  When you do run across the exceptional piece that has a mosquito, it has been caught in the resin  by happen chance, not by design.

In this piece there is a perfect female mosquito (family Culicidae) and a male (possible genus of Culex).  Both sexes have a proboscis, which the males (and sometimes females) use for obtaining plant juices, but the females are blood suckers.  You can ID the mosquito as a male because the antennae are plumose (hairy).  Please note that once seldom sees one mosquito, much less two, much less a male AND a female.  This is just unheard of.  By the way there is another female mosquito in this piece, but it is hard to see and hard to identify.

There is also a lot of other stuff inside this piece.  A couple female worker ants, Hymenoptera, Formicidae, a large wasp, Hymenoptera and a small wasp, 2 fungus gnats, Diptera, Mycetophilidae and a tropical stingless bee.  There are is more inside this amber also.  You are going to have great fun looking at it.

The piece is uniform flat, about .25 inches thick by 2.25  x 1.4 inches.  So this is a nice sized piece.

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Item 15

Not for everyone, but this is a special animal.  It is the larva of a stratiomyid fly, order, Diptera, Brachycera:Stratiomyomorpha, family Stratiomyidae.   While I am nowhere near an expert of soldier flies, this may be in the genus Chorisops.  This larval form is large 8 to 9 mm in size.  This happens to be the first one I have ever seen in person. Fine print…..the last segment is rounded, the head is in front of the eyes and they are longer than wide.  There are a few short bristles on the last segment.

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Item 16


The Micropezidae are a moderate-sized family of acalyptrate muscoid flies in the insect order Diptera.  Insects in this family are commonly called stilt-legged flies, after their characteristically long legs.

Stilt-legged flies are found in Baltic amber and rarely in Dominican.  As far as I know, there have been no reported occurrences of stilt-legged flies in Mexican (Chiapas) amber.  This is a first.  I also think that this specimen is worthy of a paper due to no reported specimens  in Chiapas amber.

The Stilt-legged fly in this piece is rather large, almost an inch long.

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Item 17

Members of this group are often confused with mayflies.  At rest, adult stoneflies fold their wings flat over their abdomen whereas mayflies usually hold their wings vertically.

Stoneflies are found rarely in amber.  In fact, I know of no other stoneflies in Mexican amber.  They have been identified in Baltic and one has been ID'ed in Burmite amber.  This is the first time I have ever seen an adult stonefly at all.

Stoneflies date back to the Permian and are of interest for their many archaic features.

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Item 18

Orthopterans have strong back legs and muscles, features that allow them to jump high and far.  Their thorax looks like a saddle. The organs on both sides of a grasshopper's first abdominal segment are for hearing, while crickets have the hearing organs on their front legs.   Crickets and some grasshoppers rub one front wing against the other to make their well-known rasping sound.

Crickets can be seen is amber since their jumping around makes it easy for them to become victims of resin.  Larger cricket specimens in amber attract many collectors.

I do believe that this is a nymph of long-horned orthopterans (Ensifera).  The actual cricket, from antennae to end of leg is rather large, almost .5 inches.  That (size description) is misleading since the cricket's leg and antennae are thin.

This specimen is about 1.25 x 1 x .6 inches.  The amber is clear and the cricket is large.  This cricket is in 12.1 grams of beautifully clear Mexican amber.  This is a particularly fine specimen.

Here is a scanned image of the cricket.   This is a nice piece.


Item 19

Item 20

This is what I call a "desk piece".  It is large and can sit on a desk.  In fact this is 82 grams and about 4 inches long and almost 2 inches round.  It does have some bees and gnats inside, but they are small - this is cool because it is polished and VERY large.  Here is a movie of it.  Just sit this on a desk and watch people inquire.

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Item 21

It is interesting that amphipods are found in Mexican amber because they are generally associated with an aquatic or semi aquatic habitat.  They do occur today in warm, moist terrestrial habitats and that is probably the type of environment utilized by the genus found in Mexican amber, Palcogammarus.

The piece of amber is not real large, about .75 x .3 x .3 inches.  The rolly-poly is perfect.  Probably the best I have ever seen in any amber.

If Isopoda is your thing, you will love this piece, it is great.

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Item 22


This is slightly different.  This is a piece that would be perfect to be made into a pendant.  The shape and thickness is perfect for it.  A band of silver or gold or just a clasp at the top - any jeweler can do this.  It has some nice layering and shows well.  On the side is a small but distinct spider.

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Item 23

The Bombyliidae are a large family of flies comprising hundreds of genera, but the lifecycles of most species are known poorly, or not at all.  Their common name are bee flies or humbleflies. They range in size from very small (2 mm in length) to very large for flies (wingspan of some 40 mm).[1][2] When at rest, many species hold their wings at a characteristic "swept back" angle. Adults generally feed on nectar and pollen, some being important pollinators, often with spectacularly long proboscises adapted to plants such as Lapeirousia species with very long, narrow floral tubes. Unlike butterflies, bee flies hold their proboscis straight, and cannot retract it. In parts of East Anglia, locals refer to them as beewhals, thanks to their tusk-like appendages. Many Bombyliidae superficially resemble bees and accordingly the prevalent common name for a member of the family is bee fly. Possibly the resemblance is Batesian mimicry, affording the adults some protection from predators.

This is a beautiful piece of amber, large and clear.  This is a second one that I have ever seen.

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Item 24

An interesting piece of amber.  Spherical, about 15mm (bit over 1/2 inch).  there is a lovely insect inside.  My guess is that this is an ichneumon wasp, Diptera, Ichneumonidae.  I admit I am not 100% sure on this ID.  It is rather unusual to have a nice sized insect in a sphere.  By the way, if you did not know, ichneumon wasps lay their eggs in larger insects, and the body of that insect serves as food for the developing larvae.

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Item 25

Looks like a tuft of hair was ripped off this mammal when leaned against some sticky resin from the tree.  Lot of hair, fun to think about and you've got a piece of history.

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Item 26

I do not know why, but once in a blue moon I find flies that have extended mouth parts.  This one though is out of the ball park.  the mouth parts are extremely extended.  I have no idea why (happy to have someone tell me though).  The piece of Chiapas amber is particularly nice, more like a 'rectangle'.  Clear, sharp and easy to see this fly is Diptera, Brachycera.


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Item 27

If you want something special, this might be it.  A necklace and earrings made out of Chiapas amber and blue beads.  Attractive, unusual and affordable.  The necklace is about 24 inches.

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Item 28

Sometimes a piece just has that special quality.  This certainly does!  A busy piece with 2 neat is what appears to be an ant's head (large) and the other looks like a small worker ant carrying a portion of a leaf (like a leaf cutter - but this is not a leaf cutter ant).  Also an immature planthopper and even a portion of a leaflet.

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Item 29


Item 30

I love this one.  Here is a small swarm of crane fliesThere are about 4 easily seen here amongst a tangle of legsCrane flies , Tipulidae, have long legs which are often torn off the body when stuck in resin.  This is a good piece.

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Item 31

Here is the 2nd mushroom I have seen on 30 years.  The first is near the top of this page.  They are so rare that I find it hard to believe that I have 2 of them.  This one has a lot of forest debris around it, in fact a lot of what appears to be coprolites.   Good piece, and it is offered here at an unbelievable price.

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Item 32

Sometimes you will find the most unique things at the end - and this is no exception.  This is a pair of mating thrips, Thysanoptera - mating for the past 20 million years.  What a thought!  What a piece for a potential gift..............and offered at a great price.

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Item 33

A rather different piece.  There is most of a leaf in this, many air bubbles and what looks like clear sand grains scattered throughout the piece.

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Item 34

I love this piece.  The color is almost transparent - not seen often in amber (and it is amber!).  There is a small, perfect cricket nymph, Orthoptera.  Final thought - maybe Mantophasmatodea?

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