Prehistoric bugs from 230 million years ago found

Associated Press
This undated handout photo provided by the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and the University of Göttingen shows photomicrographs of the two new species of ancient gall mites in 230-million-year-old amber droplets from northeastern Italy. The gall mites were named: Triasacarus fedelei, left, and Ampezzoa triassica. (AP Photo/A. Schmidt, University of Göttingen, Proceedings of the National Academy)

WASHINGTON (AP) — Scientists have found a few ancient insects frozen in what is Earth's oldest bug trap.

Two microscopic mites and much of one fly were discovered preserved in tree resin. At 230 million years old, they are about 100 million years older than the previous record for bugs trapped in amber.

While older insects have been found in rock fossils, researcher David Grimaldi of New York's American Museum of Natural History says these are better preserved.

Scientists found them stuck among 70,000 droplets of amber unearthed in northeastern Italy. The mites are too small to be seen with the naked eye and the fly is a tad tinier than a fruit fly.

The discovery was published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.