Nematodes in Dominican Amber

There is not much written about nematodes. They are small, often overlooked because of their size and just plain rare. They are rare in every type of amber, from Dominican to Baltic. Many nematodes live inside animals and are parasitic on them. Because they live inside organisms, they are not frequently seen in amber, since they would need to leave the body to be observed. Even at that, the nematodes that live in insects such as small flies are themselves small in order to live in such hosts.

The find here is breathtaking. There are 3 nematodes all just fantastically huge. The most obvious one is so large, it looks like a 'regular' worm (which is also so rare). This nematode is curled. If uncurled would be somewhere in the terms of an an inch and a half long. This is a huge smooth worm. It reminds me of the Ascaris nematodes that are so often dissected in Biology class in high school.

Never before has any nematode of this size been discovered in Dominican amber (much less ANY ambers). This is an absolute first.

Even with that being said, there are two other giant nematodes near this monster. They both are approaching an inch in size. To me, they look different than the giant I have already talked about. Could they be different species? Maybe..... Nematoda is not my area of specialty. I do know them well enough to appreciate the rare small nematodes that are so rinfrequently found.

I am going to go out on a limb and state that the giant nematode in this piece has an egg sac. Look carefully at the thick area, that looks like an egg sac.

I do not know smooth worms well enough to give a real name to any of the nematodes in this piece of Dominican amber. These were found in the La Bucara mine a few years ago. There is no question that these are giant nematodes.

This is such a rare specimen that I hesitate to even put it up for sale. While it is expensive, it is a world class specimen that will probably never, ever, be seen again in my lifetime. Maybe you can have a species named after yourself with this gentle giant? Finally, there are a few insects and a good sized spider in the piece, but the value is not the large spider. This piece is about 2 inches x 1 inch x .25 inches. The large nematode looks so large, it appears to be a small annelid (really).


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