Beetles even older than dinosaurs


This video is called Mating tiger beetles (Cicindela hybrida). It says about itself:

Tiger beetles are known for their predatory habits. They have large bulging eyes, long, slender legs and large curved mandibles. All are predatory, both as adults and as larvae.

This video shows the Dune tiger beetle at the Butterfly Garden at Waa;lre, the Netherlands, while mating and preparing a home for its offspring.

From LiveScience:

Modern Beetles Predate Dinosaurs

By Dave Mosher, LiveScience Staff Writer

posted: 26 December 2007

Wait, don’t squash that beetle! Its lineage predates dinosaurs.

New research hints that modern-day versions of the insects are far older than any tyrannosaur that trod the Earth.

Today’s plethora of beetle species were thought to have blossomed 140 million years ago, during the rise of flowering plants. But the new study of beetle DNA and fossils, published in the Dec. 21 issue of the journal Science, pushes their appearance back to 300 million years ago.

That beats the arrival of dinosaurs by about 70 million years.

“Unlike the dinosaurs which dwindled to extinction, beetles survived because of their ecological diversity and adaptability,” said the study’s lead scientist Alfried Vogler, an entomologist at Imperial College London and the Natural History Museum in London.

Today, 350,000 species of beetles dot collections around the world, and millions more are estimated to exist but haven’t been discovered — which means they make up more than one-fourth of all known species of life forms. The reason for this tremendous diversity has been debated by scientists for many years but never resolved.

Vogler thinks beetles’ head start on our planet with its ever-changing environments was the secret to their success.

“The large number of beetle species existing today could very well be a direct result of this early evolution,” Vogler said, “and the fact that there has been a very high rate of survival and continuous diversification of many lineages since then.”

The red flour beetle (Tribolium castaneum): here.

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