Cretaceous Robber Fly Insect Fossil

Insect Fossils: Robber Fly

Class Insecta, Order Diptera, Family Asilidae, Genus Araripogon (?)

Geological Time: Lower Cretaceous Late Aptian-Cenomanian (108-92 million years ago)

Size: Insect fossil 12 mm

Fossil Site: Crato Formation, Nova Olinda Member, Ceara, Brazil

Rare Cretaceous Asilidae Insect FossilDescription: The Araripe Basin of Brazil is home to a fantastic array of exquisitely-detailed Early Cretaceous fossils, some of which have been preserved in three dimensions. While the entire formation has until the last decade or so been termed the Santana Formation, David Martill has separated out the slightly older insect-bearing strata as the Nova Olinda Member of the Crato Formation. Quarrying operations for the purposes of obtaining paving stones exposes the remarkable insect fauna in much the same way that quarrying for lithographic limestone in Solnhofen has afforded a panoply of wonderfully-preserved Jurassic fossils in Germany. In addition to the many orders of insects, spiders, scorpions, decapod crustaceans, and many plants have been found. Interestingly, to date no pterosaurs or terrestrial vertebrates have been found, in stark contrast to the overlying Santana Formation deposits. This fine example shows a robber fly in lateral aspect.. The robber flies are predaceous, often attacking insects larger than themselves; they are capable of inflicting a painful bite. They are rare in the Cretaceous with only those found in Brazil and one from amber of New Jersey known. It is most likely that this is a member of the genus Araripogon as it is the only known genus to date.

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