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Haug, Carolin; Baranov, Viktor A.; Hörnig, Marie K.; Gauweiler, Joshua; Hammel, Jorg U.; Perkovsky, Evgeny E. and Haug, Joachim T. (2022): 35 million-year-old solid-wood-borer beetle larvae support the idea of stressed Eocene amber forests. In: Palaeobiodiversity and Palaeoenvironments [PDF, 38MB]


Eocene amber is an important window into the past about 35 million years ago. The large quantities of resin produced by this forest of the past, resulting in amber, triggered the idea of a forest under stress. Recent findings of higher abundances of hoverfly larvae in Eocene amber, in the modern fauna often associated with wood-borer larvae, provided a hint that wood-borer larvae may have contributed to this stress. Yet, so far only few such larvae have been reported. We have compiled a dozen additional wood-borer larvae in amber, including a giant one of at least 35 mm length in Rovno amber. Heavily damaged fossils furthermore indicate that larger larvae of this type were prone to oxidation and that, at least some, enigmatic tube-like tunnels in larger amber pieces may represent remains of large wood-borer larvae. This find strongly indicates that wood-borer larvae were not rare, but common in the Eocene amber forest, which is compatible with the high abundances of hoverfly larvae and further supports the idea of a forest under stress. Whether the possible higher abundances of wood-borer larvae were the cause of the stress or a symptom of an already stressed forest remains so far unclear.

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