Thrips caught in the act - news story - 16 May 2012

Thunderbugs in amber

The problems facing bees at the moment is of great concern not so much because of the honey they produce (there's always jam) but because of the impact it would have on the sex lives of flowering plants.

The moment insects got suckered into carrying pollen around from plant to plant was a triumphant breakthrough for the world of plants, and then subsequently for many animals. It has been thought that insects started their delivery role at least as far back as the Triassic, it's not something that's easy to demonstrate. So the discovery of some thrips (thunderbugs) in 100 million year old amber in the Basque Country was of considerable interest once pollen was spotted on their bodies.

Although at 'only' 100 million years ago it won't be anything close to the earliest incident of insect pollenation, it's at least a more substantial proof that it was happening. The pollen is probably from a ginkgo, a plant which is still alive and well today. You can read more on the story by clicking here.