Worker Ant with Aphid in Baltic Amber
(farmer and cow?)

Name: Fossil Amber Insects: Ant - Hymenoptera, Family Formicidae, Aphid - Order Homoptera, Apidoidea, Pembigidae, Germaraphis sp.

Age: Upper Eocene - Lower Oligocene

Size: (25.4mm=1 inch): Amber: 20 mm long , 12 mm across , 1.0 grams. Inclusions: 1-2mm

Location: Kaliningrad District, Russia

Description: This amber piece displays a fine member of the Hymenoptera. This one is betrayed by the “elbowed” antennae as a member of the Formicidae, or ants. The Family gets its name from the fact that their defensive armament includes formic acid. The workers and soldiers are exclusively sterile females; only the bloated queen is fertile. As an unusual addition, we have a nymph of an aphid (notice the long sucking mouthpart). Aphids are often found in association with ants because some ants “farm” them for honeydew, a byproduct produced by aphids. It is not known whether these two are “farmer” and “cow”, or a chance association.

Aphids probably first appeared 280 million years ago, in the Carboniferous when they likely fed on non-flowering plants. They diversified into many more families with the appearance of angiosperms some 160 millions of years ago

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