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Enlaces de interés

Enlaces de interés


Shedding light on the paleocommunities preserved in amber is critical to understand the associated conifer forest paleoecosystem. A reliable, multiscale reconstruction of this paleoecosystem represents the ultimate goal of the AMBARES project, resulting from the integration of all the available geological and paleobiological data, and taking into account possible taphonomical biases. The study of the paleobiological content in the Spanish ambers has identified ecological relationships between different organisms, illustrating their ecology, behavior, and biotic interactions. Within these, the study of amber inclusions related with aquatic environments and plant-insect interactions are especially informative.


Although the presence of aquatic arthropods in amber is exceptional, adults with aquatic juvenile stages, like those of heteropterans, plecopterans, chironomid dipterans, and trichopterans, are quite common. The presence of these groups is able to suggest the relative proximity of water bodies, namely seasonal ponds, rivers, and small water bodies in the forest (for instance, inside trunks), to the resin-producing areas in the paleoecosystem. The presence of other groups, like ceratopogonid dipterans, is able to suggest the proximity of the sea to the resin-producing areas. The diversity and relative abundance of arthropod groups with paleoenvironmental significance is being compared with data from other amber outcrops and modern forests. Moreover, the relative abundance of certain arthropod groups can provide specific paleoecological information. For instance, the number of snake-flies (Raphidioptera) in Spanish amber is about ten times higher than in the rest of main Cretaceous ambers, a fact that has been linked with the important role that paleofires played in the Spanish amber forest.

The principal interespecific biotic interactions found in Spanish amber so far include mating, which represents the most direct way to identify males and females from a given species, and swarming (nuptial flight) behaviour, also valuable for sex identification. The study on interespecific biotic interactions, in turn, is currently focused on plant-insect interactions. This field has already provided remarkable discoveries, like two thrips species (Thysanoptera) with pollen grains adhered to specialized body setae and proven to be gymnosperm pollinators, and the tight relationship (perhaps a mutualism) between a green lacewing larva (Chrysopoidea) and a fern, the insect feeding on the fern’s herbivores and the fern providing trichomes for the insect’s defense (camouflage and physical protection). Moreover, insects with elongated mouthparts could have fed on nectar, as occurs with some dipterans and neuropterans. Some of these insects most likely acted as pollinators. Other interspecific biotic interactions include prey-predator relationships, the best examples of which are spider webs with trapped insects, or parasitism, like parasitic mites attached with their mouthparts to their dipteran hosts while feeding on them. The study of parasites/parasitoids, like some wasps, can also provide information on their host and hence holds the potential to provide information about organisms not directly preserved in the amber fossil record.

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