Science Current Events | Science News | Brightsurf.com
 

Jurassic pain: Giant 'flea-like' insects plagued dinosaurs 165 million years ago

May 03, 2012

CORVALLIS, Ore. - It takes a gutsy insect to sneak up on a huge dinosaur while it sleeps, crawl onto its soft underbelly and give it a bite that might have felt like a needle going in - but giant "flea-like" animals, possibly the oldest of their type ever discovered, probably did just that.

And a few actually lived through the experience, based on the discovery by Chinese scientists of remarkable fossils of these creatures, just announced in Current Biology, a professional journal.

These flea-like animals, similar but not identical to modern fleas, were probably 10 times the size of a flea you might find crawling on the family dog - with an extra-painful bite to match.

"These were insects much larger than modern fleas and from the size of their proboscis we can tell they would have been mean," said George Poinar, Jr., a professor emeritus of zoology at Oregon State University, who wrote a commentary on this find in the same journal.

"You wouldn't talk much about the good old days if you got bit by this insect," Poinar said. "It would have felt about like a hypodermic needle going in - a flea shot, if not a flu shot. We can be thankful our modern fleas are not nearly this big."

Poinar, who is an international expert in ancient and extinct insect life forms, said it's possible that the soft-bodied, flea-like insects found in these fossils from Inner Mongolia are the evolutionary ancestors of modern fleas, but most likely they belong to a separate and now extinct lineage.

Called Pseudopulex jurassicus and Pseudopulex magnus, they had bodies that were more flat, like a bedbug or tick, and long claws that could reach over scales on the skin of dinosaurs so they could hold onto them tightly while sucking blood. Modern fleas are more laterally compressed and have shorter antennae, and are able to move quickly through the fur or feathers of their victims.

"These are really well-preserved fossils that give us another glimpse of life into the really distant past, the Cretaceous and Jurassic," said Poinar, who has also studied "younger" fleas from 40-50 million years ago preserved in amber.

All true fleas are adapted to feeding on warm-blooded vertebrates, Poinar said, and today 94 percent of the 2,300 known species attack mammals, while the remainder feed on birds. But the unusual characteristics and abilities of the flea-like animals found in these fossils lead scientists to believe their prey were some of the biggest kids on the block - dinosaurs in which they could have fed on the softer skin between scales.

Modern fleas, the report noted, have done plenty of damage. Hardly a dog or cat alive has escaped their attack, and they brought mankind such diseases as bubonic plague, which has killed 75 million people.

But their bite itself, at least, didn't feel like a needle going in, by an insect that wasn't even afraid of a dinosaur.

Oregon State University


Related Fleas Current Events and Fleas News Articles


Pharmaceutical residues increasingly disrupt aquatic life: A hidden global change
Let's forget about the climate for a minute. Largely hidden from public view, another global change is causing increasing disruption.

Long-term effects of common pesticides on aquatic species
New research indicates that commonly-used insecticide mixtures continue to impact aquatic invertebrate species over multiple weeks, even when the chemicals are no longer detectable in water.

Bacteria in ancient flea may be ancestor of the Black Death
About 20 million years ago a single flea became entombed in amber with tiny bacteria attached to it, providing what researchers believe may be the oldest evidence on Earth of a dreaded and historic killer - an ancient strain of the bubonic plague.

Omega-3's are vital for a healthy ocean
A new study published this week in Nature Scientific Reports reveals the importance of omega-3 fatty acids for the health of the ocean.

Color changing sand fleas flummox predatory birds
Sand fleas have a remarkable ability to change colour in order to match dramatically different backgrounds, according to a new study from the University of Exeter and the Ascension Island Government Conservation Department.

French researchers develop new device to collect bed bugs
In recent years, bed bugs (Cimex lectularius) have been appearing more and more often in beds around the world, and entomologists need specimens for research purposes.

Water fleas genetically adapt to climate change
The water flea has genetically adapted to climate change. Biologists from KU Leuven, Belgium, compared 'resurrected' water fleas -- hatched from 40-year-old eggs -- with more recent specimens.

Road salt guidelines need review to protect food chain in lakes: York U study
Salt used for winter road maintenance in Canada could wipe out water flea populations that keep our lakes clear of algae and feed the fish, a recent York University study has revealed.

Diversity prevents resistance
Our opponents always seem to be one step ahead. Although pest controllers now have numerous chemical preparations available, allowing them to take action against unwanted insects, the species targeted are developing a resistance against the different active substances at a rapid pace.

Baby mantises harness mid-air 'spin' during jumps for precision landings
The smaller you are, the harder it is not to spin out of control when you jump. Miniscule errors in propulsive force relative to the centre of mass results in most jumping insects - such as fleas, leafhoppers and grasshoppers - spinning uncontrollably when they jump.
More Fleas Current Events and Fleas News Articles

Fleas!

Fleas!
by Jeanne Steig (Author), Britt Spencer (Illustrator)


From the whimsical world of Steig! When Quantz stops to pet a big red dog, what does he get for his efforts? FLEAS! And those fleas are itchy! So he trades them for a talking uncle, but that uncle just talks too much, so Quantz is happy to give him up for a huge wheel of limburger cheese. But that cheese is too heavy, so he trades it for a beat up banjo . . . then an auburn wig . . . a tiny pet rabbit . . . a dried up bone . . . and finally a big red dog—who becomes a fast friend. This wonderfully Steigish tall tale concludes with a flea circus you’ll never forget! With whimsical, retro illustrations and a hilarious text, Fleasis a book children will be itching to hear again and again!

The Story of Diva and Flea

The Story of Diva and Flea
by Mo Willems (Author), Tony DiTerlizzi (Illustrator)


Diva, a small yet brave dog, and Flea, a curious streetwise cat, develop an unexpected friendship in this unforgettable tale of discovery.

For as long as she could remember, Diva lived at 11 avenue Le Play in Paris, France. For as long as he could remember, Flea also lived in Paris, France-but at no fixed address. When Flea fl neurs past Diva's courtyard one day, their lives are forever changed. Together, Diva and Flea explore and share their very different worlds, as only true friends can do.

The Flea - The Amazing Story of Leo Messi

The Flea - The Amazing Story of Leo Messi
by Michael Part (Author)


The captivating story of soccer legend Lionel Messi, from his first touch at age five in the streets of Rosario, Argentina, to his first goal on the Camp Nou pitch in Barcelona, Spain. The Flea tells the amazing story of a boy who was born to play the beautiful game and destined to become the world's greatest soccer player.

Fleas Be Gone: A Holistic Veterinarian's Guide to Natural Flea Control for Cats and Dogs (Holistic Pet Care Book 1)

Fleas Be Gone: A Holistic Veterinarian's Guide to Natural Flea Control for Cats and Dogs (Holistic Pet Care Book 1)
by TCK Publishing


Protect Your Pets, Your Family and Your Health With Natural Solutions
The safest, most effective ways to keep your pets and house free of fleas!

You're about to learn better solutions for taking care of your pets from a top Holistic Veterinarian...

How to Prevent Fleas, Parasites and Illness in Your Pets
Fleas are parasites, and parasites are attracted to the most vulnerable hosts first and foremost. If your pet as a weakened immune system or poor skin health due to a bad diet, they're more likely to attract fleas and get sick. Simply by making a few changes in your pet's diet, you can dramatically reduce their likelihood of getting fleas in the first place.

Always remember that prevention is a better solution than waiting for the problem...

Flea Market Fabulous: Designing Gorgeous Rooms with Vintage Treasures

Flea Market Fabulous: Designing Gorgeous Rooms with Vintage Treasures
by Lara Spencer (Author), ChiChi Ubina (Photographer), Jonathan Adler (Photographer)


Focusing on nine different rooms (including her own recently purchased Manhattan apartment), Lara Spencer shows readers that all it takes is planning, shopping know-how, and a little imagination to create beautiful and comfortable homes that reflect their personal style. She takes readers through the step-by-step process of overcoming the challenges of the room, offering helpful tips and lessons along the way. She identi­fies the design dilemma; comes up with a decorat­ing plan; makes a mood board for inspiration; compiles a shopping list; scours flea markets for furniture and accessories that fit the bill; restores, repurposes, and reinvents the pieces she finds, giving them new life; and brings all the elements together in the gorgeous, finished space. With illuminating before,...

Flea Ting's Moment (The Adventures of Flea Ting Book 1)

Flea Ting's Moment (The Adventures of Flea Ting Book 1)
by Abiding Arts LLC


The Fleas of Ram's Head Colony have always obeyed the sacred Rules of Nobite. One day, however, one aspiring little Flea-ling decided he was going to defy the ancient rules by leaving the safety of Ram's Head. What follows is a young Flea-ling's discovery of the importance of obedience.

Flea Ting's Moment is inspired by the "living books" concept. It is an Interactive Adventure for iPad and other mobile devices. Double-tap the characters to read their thoughts!

Get Rid of Fleas: How To Get Rid of Fleas in The Yard, House And on Your Pet (Flea Control Book 1)

Get Rid of Fleas: How To Get Rid of Fleas in The Yard, House And on Your Pet (Flea Control Book 1)


How To Get Rid of and Control Fleas
Now you can learn proven ways to eliminate fleas in the house, in the yard and on your pets. This book will teach you how to get rid of fleas quickly and safely. In order to get rid of these pests entirely, you must kill them in all three places. It is also important that you do things to prevent them from overtaking your life again.

Stanley Steel, in his book, “How To Get Rid of Fleas,” outlines everything you need to know in order to eliminate fleas entirely from your life.

When you are finished with this book you will have learned:
How to kill fleas without the use of dangerous pesticides, poisons or chemicalsHow to get rid of fleas in the yard, in the house and on your pet (dog or cat) quicklyWhat causes...

Flea Market Fatal: Missy DeMeanor Cozy Mystery #1 (Missy DeMeanor Cozy Mysteries)

Flea Market Fatal: Missy DeMeanor Cozy Mystery #1 (Missy DeMeanor Cozy Mysteries)


Missy DeMeanor just found the perfect cabinet to repurpose for next week’s Tri-County Flea Market. Too bad she also just found the owner of said cabinet dead in his house.

She hasn’t seen her high school sweetheart, Tyler Brock, in years, and under normal circumstances she’d be excited to reconnect with him. But these aren’t normal circumstances because Missy is the prime suspect in the town’s first murder in years.

Now with the help of her best friend, Noreen, and her mother (assuming Mom will actually share everything with her), Missy must prove her innocence and find the killer. But as she delves deeper into the investigation she uncovers some shocking secrets about the town, and her own family.

Can this big, beautiful woman find the...

The Flea's Sneeze

The Flea's Sneeze
by Lynn Downey (Author), Karla Firehammer (Illustrator)


On a dark, dark night
On an old, old farm
In a rickety, crickety
Tumbledown barn,
Everyone slept peacefully-
But not the flea . . .A delightfully silly barnyard tale-now in paperbackWhat happens when a flea gets a bad case of the sniffles? Utter pandemonium in the barnyard! This rollicking picture book follows a lovable flea and his exceptional sneeze through the mayhem. Before the night is over, every animal-from the mouse to the cow-has something to say. Will the animals ever fall back to sleep?Lynn Downey's quirky text and Karla Firehammer's charming pictures make this a winning story for preschool children.

The Paranormals: Fleas

The Paranormals: Fleas
by Erik Schubach


Fleas is the first in the series of young adult novellas that follow three friends with paranormal powers as they graduate from school and start an odd jobs business together.

Steph Ryder is a lycan shifter, but she is under-powered, what is known as a stringer. She can't shift into her full werewolf form, but can manage to take the form of a fox.

Steph must find out who framed her best friend, Penny, for a theft at the high school that got her expelled just days before graduation.

Can a clumsy, shy, fox shifter overcome her own fears and insecurities and save the day?

© 2016 BrightSurf.com