Chiapas Amber (Mexico)

Item 1

Webspinners are easily differentiated from all other insects by the swollen tarsi of the first pair of legs.  This one is in the order Embiodea, family Anisembiidae.  These contains silk glands which are used to line the galleries in which they live, usually on tree trunks.   Females often have long segments antennae.  Males of most species are wings while the females are wingless. Most webspinners found in amber are males and maybe misidentified for small termites.  Webspinners are rarely found in amber.  In this piece, there are a few wasps, Hymenoptera and the webspinner is a male.  The body is curved as if it was climbing on some resin and immediately was covered again.

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Item 2

Termite nests contain an assortment of different arthropods adapted to living in these confined habitats.  Some,  like the termite bug here, Termitaradus: Termitaradidae:Hemiptera, live nowhere else except termite chambers.  they are strongly modified for this type of existence.  The body is flattened and used as a shield to protect the head and appendages.  They are thought to feed on fungi.

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Item 3

Earwigs, Class Hexapoda, Oder: Dermaptera, Family, Forficulidae. are easily identified by their elongate bodies, long antennae and by their distinctive pair of un-segmented forceps-like pincers (cerci) at the tip of the abdomen.  The hind wings are large, membranous and have a unique folding mechanism, but these are rarely seen.  You can actually see one pair of wings in this specimen.  The wing is extended which is a VERY rare site.  Earwigs are rare in amber, let alon those with wings wide open.

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Item 4

There is a small zoo inside this piece.  The highlighted specimen is a mayfly, Order: Ephemeroptera, Family, Leptophlebiidae.  The life history of mayflies is quite remarkable.  Most species spend approximately one year as an aquatic nymph, but the adult lives only for a matter o minutes or days, depending on the species. The primary function of the adult is reproduction.  In contrast to Baltic amber, mayflies in Mexican amber are rather rare.  This amber contains 2 caddis flies, Trichoptera and a mass of what looks like hair (rare).   There is also a bark-gnawing beetle, Coleoptera, Ostomatidae.  Finally there are some, Chironomidae

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Item 5

A different cut of amber.  Some sides are not polished, the important sides are polished.   A very nice effect.  There are air bubbles that do not seem to move inside the larger air bubbles.  Fun piece.

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Item 6

This clear piece of amber has a beautiful example of a male, winged ant, Hymenoptera, Formicidae.  There is also a hard to see ant on another plane (level of amber resulting from the amber flow.  Also an unknown insect.

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Item 7

I love this piece.  The details of the bee are fantastic!  Order, Hymenoptera, Family, Apidae:Meliponini, Genus Proplebeia.  This is stingless bee also known as meliponines and they are closely related to honey bees and bumblebees.  It is from this genus that the first claims of DNA extraction from amber fossils were made, although subsequent  attempts to replicate the extraction process proved unsuccessful and the initial claims  are now considered to have been in error.  There is a small planthopper, Homoptera, family Delphacidae and a wasp.

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Item 8

At first, I bought this because I though it was a feather.  I remember standing out in the mine looking at the piece, getting excited since feathers are sooooo rare in amber.  When I look at it under a microscope, I do not think it is a feather.  Thus, the price reflects that sad thought. By the way, I paid a lot for this piece!


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Item 9

The most obvious object inside is a leaflet from something like a mimosa tree.  There is also a curled leaflet off to the side.  In addition, there was two scelionid wasps, Hymenoptera, Scelionidae 'flying one right behind the other' and what looks like a 'punky', Ceratopogonidae. The important thing is the mayfly, Order: Ephemeroptera, Family, Leptophlebiidae. Short lived, this is a good example of such a creature.

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Item 10

Pseudoscorpions are small animals, Order Pseudoscorpiones, Family, Geogarypidae.  Their large pair of pincers (pedipalps) look like a crab's, catching victims and injecting them with silk from their pincers.  This silk is also used for making cocoons.  There is a large ant, Hymenoptera, Formicidae and a springtail, Collembola.  The springtail is large (for springtails.....which are small).  The pseudoscorpion is viewed from the edge of the semi-flat piece of Chiapas amber.

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Item 11

Mosquitos in amber are so rare.  Because of that, they are very, very expensive.  Mosquitos are not normally found in amber since the young resin does not attract mosquitos like it does for other insects.  this female mosquito in fair shape.  You can see the proboscis and the body, but they are not as clear as the thousand dollar specimens.

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Item 12

This is a beautiful piece of Chiapas amber.  It has a rare pseudoscorpion and also a very small wasp.  The pseudoscorpion is small and is on the side.   There are waves of color lines going through the piece.  It is good (even though the pseudoscorpion is small).

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Item 13

True bug, Order Hemiptera. This is a nymph of a stink bug, Pentatomidae.  These ovoid shaped bugs feed mostly on plants, but some are predaceous.  They are called stink bugs because a characteristic odor is produced when they are handled.

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Item 14

As I have mentioned before, mosquitos in amber are rare, very rare.  This is a beautiful mosquito.  You can see the body, wings and proboscis easily.   A very good specimen.  Mosquitos are attracted by heat, smell and carbon dioxide, not from the order of resin secreted from trees.  So to capture one, it has to be in a spot that is not 'normal' for a mosquito.  There is also a wasp and possible polyxenid millipede.

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Item 15

While I know the first thing one  sees in this piece of amber is part of a chewed leaf, that is not special thing that is inside.  Again, I have mentioned how the wings on earwigs fold like origami.  It is a special fold that defies what is normal when you actually see the wing unfold.  The wing is visible in this specimen!  Earwigs (Order, Dermaptera)are rare, wings unfolded are rarer.  This is a good piece.   On one side it looks like hair (don't think this is hair though - fibers from a plant?)  There is also a sap beetle, Coleoptera, Family, Nitidulidae

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Item 16

A very nice sized, clear and it has a beautiful color to it.  On top of that, there is a pseudoscorpion.  The pseudoscorpion has very long front pincers.  There are wood fragments scattered around the piece, giving it a very special effect. You will like this one.

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Item 17

Large piece of amber with many small leaves inside.  There is a lot here, the husk of a planthopper, some ants, Hymenoptera and a bunch of unknowns.  You will like the leaves and the size.

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Item 18

This is probably the most beautiful nymph of a stink bug that I have ever seen (Hemiptera, Family Pentatomidae).  The amber is clear and the nymph is easily visible. This is a wonderful piece for anyone's collection.

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Item 19

If you like mites, this is for youThere is a slew of mites scattered around the piece.  Most are in the Family ErythraeidaeThere is a large ant and a wasp, actually 2 wasps,  Hymenoptera.  A fun piece to look at.

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Item 20

Planthopper in Amber

This is a good one, a beautiful rosary made from sterling silver and Mexican amber.  When I laid it out and measured the total length, it is 18 inches.

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Item 21

A rose by any other name.  This rose pendant is carved from red amber with a gold attachment.  It is about 1.1 inches x 1 inch x 0.24 inches in size.  This is just a wonderful piece.


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Item 22

Nice example of a compound leaf, maybe a legume?  I certainly get a kick when I see something as beautiful as this.

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Item 23

For 20 million years these two true midges have been making love.  This act of procreation was immortalized when they became entangled in sticky resin.   There are two true midges, Nematocera, Family Chironomidae:Orthocladiinae.  The amber is a bit less than .5 x .5 x .5 inches - this is cubical.  Needless to say, this is rare.

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Item 25

I am not sure on this one but it certainly looks like a nematode coming out of the abdomen of this midge.  I always find nematodes coming out of animals fascinating (I know, I am strange.) Might be a small caddis fly off to the side.   Looks like a plant fiber at this spot.  Two sides of the amber are not well polished.

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Item 26

A nice sized and very clear piece of amber.  This has a rather large mite (at least I think it is a mite...not tick.....I always find these hard to distinguish).  There is also a midge, Chironomidae.

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Item 27

You have to wonder what type of mammal rubbed up against this sticky resin 20 million years ago.  Nice clear piece showing mammalian hairs.

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Item 28

Sometimes it is just cool to get a nice piece of amber with an easily seen insect.  This one is has a nice wasp on one side, Hymenoptera.

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Item 29

Smallish piece with two very well preserved flies, Diptera, Brachycera.  The details on these two is really something to see.  You will enjoy these pictures.

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Item 30

An extremely attractive piece of amber with a single soldier beetle, Coleoptera, Family, Cantharidae.  This is just one of those really good pieces.

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Item 31

The Heteroptera are a group of about 40,000 species of insects in the order Hemiptera. They are sometimes called "true bugs", though that name more commonly refers to the Hemiptera as a whole. "Typical bugs" might be used as a more unequivocal alternative, since the heteropterans are most consistently and universally termed "bugs" among the Hemiptera.  Just a nice piece showing a good true bug.

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