Will fame corrupt our sweet bugs-next-door, the Solite insects?



Well, our beloved Triassic insects have been making some science news as there have been a few recent papers published regarding the Solite fossils. Which begs the question- will fame corrupt these sweet fossils?

Fortunately, no. They have been dead for quite sometime. Anyway, I have to say it… LET’S SEE WHAT ALL THE BUZZ IS ABOUT!!

First up, our Belostomatids, those lovable giant water bugs, have now been described as the earliest known species, Triassonepa solensis, in a paper written by Julia Criscione and David Grimaldi and published in the Journal of Paleontology (Journal of Paleontology, page 1 of 12 Copyright © 2017, The Paleontological Society 0022-3360/15/0088-0906 doi: 10.1017/jpa.2017.48).


Triassonepa solensis; scale bar: 5 mm with 0.1 mm div.

This paper also suggests that our local fossil Belos can help determine the area’s Triassic lake environment, which has been debated for quite some time. You should read the paper yourself,  but spoiler alert, Criscione and Grimaldi state it is most likely:


And, in another journal, our lovely Holcoptera beetles have been considered their own species, Holcoptera solitensis, as the color bands (those three visible stripes pictured below) “float;” meaning they do not connect with one another. This paper (Mesozoic Holcoptera (Coleoptera: Coptoclavidae) from England and the United States) was written by Richard S. Kelly, Andrew J. Ross and Philip Davidson and published in the Proceedings of the Geologists’ Association (http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.pgeola.2017.05.009 0016-7878/© 2017 The Geologists’ Association. Published by Elsevier Ltd. This is an open access article under the CC BY license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).).

Holcoptera solitensis sp.; holotype; scale bar: 5 mm with 0.1 mm div.  

Holcoptera is not a well-known genus of beetle, mainly due to the fact that it is an extinct genera, and the higher classification is in debate. In fact, while I was working on cataloging the Solite insects, I often turned to google images to get a better idea of fossil patterns one might associated with different insects. This never worked with Holcoptera, as google images often decided the search term “Holcopera beetle” was best represented by this:

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Let’s give the authors of these papers, and our own lovely Solite insects, a round of applause!



This entry was posted in From the Collections Room, General Geology, Invertebrate Paleontology, Newark Supergroup, Science and Technology, Solite Quarry. Bookmark the permalink.

1 Response to Will fame corrupt our sweet bugs-next-door, the Solite insects?

  1. lucytreado says:

    Love it! Gotta love those water bugs. Also, I wonder what color the beetles would have been. For instance, we can see they have patterning, but were they brightly colored? And why? Sexual selection? To warn predators? It’s fun to imagine. Maybe someday we’ll know for sure 😀

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