16 Million-Year-Old Springtail Hitchhiked on the Wings of Mayflies

16 Million-Year-Old Springtail Hitchhiked on the Wings of Mayflies

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Researchers at the University of Manchester say they have discovered a 16 million-year-old springtail hitchhiking on the wings of mayflies. Researchers say that a CT scan of amber has revealed the very first evidence of any creature hitchhiking on the wings of an adult mayfly. Tiny springtails are likely using mayflies for transportation today, researchers note, but this is the first time that this type of activity has been recorded.

Researchers say that the CT scan showed a small springtail sitting at the base of one of the mayfly’s wings. The ancient springtail looks to have secured itself to the mayfly via its prehensile antennae. David Penney and his research team deployed a high resolution CT scanner to process over 3,000 X-rays from different views. Using cross sections of the amber, the scientists developed 3D digital images of the springtail.

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